A boy dashes across the road
from darkness into streetlights, flit
of limbs through lanes, his bar-code
for these few seconds. Then he’s gone,
deletes himself with one last stride
into the darkness on
the other side.
The sodium lamps, tall canopies
along the median of the boulevard,
are yellow and weak, but these
alone stand guard.
Outside them, shadows thickly mass.
Only small bits of buildings — a sill,
an eave, a sheen of glass —
a footpath fading into black,
a rubbish bin’s half cylinder,
a swarthy pool of shellac
around a fender.
Beyond the lightly captured islands,
there’s nothing, not a glint, and save
the roaring highway, silence
like a vast stalled wave.
This is what the boy departs,
and joins again, unknown events
that his decision starts,
or those it ends.
I saw him maybe six months past.
I am thousands of miles along
the road, and moving fast
to the latest song,
awake, in the middle of it,
but stressed and trying not to sleep
on stretches poorly lit,
trying to keep
a closer eye on where the street-light
gives way to dark and all is lost
or found, since that one night
my path was crossed.
from Early Hours (Gallery, 2015) © Justin Quinn 2015, used by permission of the author and the publisher