The needle on the dashboard
injects a kind of silence
into the way we hold conversations.
The beige sweat of the front seat,
with it's buckles tightened across your chest
as if practicing for mastery of the simple caress,
carries the same hint of longing
sand knows, staring at the glass of the sky.
The mountains through the windows
make us feel like residents of
inexplicably mobile terrariums.
I wonder what hamsters
think about in moments like this,
When the sound of wheels is a redundant exhibitionism
and talking to yourself is no longer an option,
because you've already told all your best jokes.
Looking at you, with your hair
a posturing paintbrush for desert horizons
whipping the air with convulsions of color,
I realize that motion
is what causes all of our great silences.
That it is in the moment when we surrender
to the stubborn velocity of our bodies
that we lose interest in conversation.
That the sweet wine of nostalgia
has a tendency to neuter our tongues,
as if silence were a lover
whose sentences we finish.
That we punish ourselves with these acts of acceleration
for fear the sun will stop to notice us
making faces behind its back
the way we did once, when we were young.
I want nothing more
than for you to think me noble
for holding your hand,
with this stillness caught between us
and tell you everything I ever thought
was too stupid to utter.
To drive this car onto the shoulder of the road,
place our feet in the windshield of this drive-in horizon,
and trade the summers of our silence
for more audible seasons.
Under the Table:
by James Claffey