Skip to content

“I-80, Nebraska” by David Hirzel

February 19, 2015

I-80, Nebraska
by David Hirzel.

Rain drops on a cold day in mid-July
like winter come early or a day caught
between hours, an indeterminate

sentence of half-light in mid-continent,
that vast shield of grass along the Interstate’s
straight line halving the earth, north and south.

This land is named by the names of towns,
speaks through the night with a radio voice
giving out farm prices, wears a face

seen standing at a long line of gas pumps
or on girls with too much makeup in cafes
small-talking the passing-through, those

driven between shores, dropped between
mountains where the land gives no horizon
more than a few miles distant for two days past

and one day yet to go. The light leaves early
under low clouds. Lights go on.
We blind each other from opposite directions.

The wet pavement’s downbeaten rain
rises like heavy smoke from each wheel’s track,
mist on the mirror of a mapped-out plan.

Of all possible ways we could have gone,
we chose this today, this divided highway
that brings us whipping each other on

with wind and a hard rain, a fear
of stopping and losing all that time hard-won
by going too fast too far too long.

The lights go on for miles beyond
the strength of this vision. In them our common purpose
unites in a roar and a gleam, and from behind

the swinging blades on this one window,
in the wet red sheen of all that lies
before me, I see the image and the glow

of a candle and your face. For one of those
coming faces framed behind wet glass,
there must be a moment’s recognition

to be found in mine, like a blurred sign
of all we are after, the same promise
of a night’s shelter, the same anonymous

gift of a straight, true, level path
leading us all into the distance where
the rain closes with the night, the glare

of headlights stops its argument
for two directions, constant and opposed,
and diminished clouds begin their slow ascent.

by David Hirzel, July 1985

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 20, 2015 2:45 pm

    Love this! Hv down loaded it to reread it, & discuss it with U. Thnk U.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: