This poem originally appeared in Autumn Sky Poetry.
Long Drive to Portland
The highway blinks between sheets
of rain and sleet, drops that bounce
from paint pealing back along the hood,
drops that smack the windshield
like fireflies in headlight glare.
Almost there turns to not-quite-there
turns to why-do-I-want-to-be-there
in the first place, bearing witness
to the slow softening of breath,
slowing rise and fall of his chest.
Interstate 5 grows in rain, stretches
to challenge my speedometer. 75
feels like 7 and I honk
for no reason except to prepare
myself for the similar beep
of hospital machines, as if a shriek
could call back the dead
instead of alerting us to the futility
of trying to make it in time.