Fast Ride

The West Side Highway morphs to verdant lawn
with brown-gold patches (horse manure? a barn?) –

lush green track down which we are careering
faster and faster, and no one is steering

or even driving: no hands on the wheel.
I scream. It comes out tinny and unreal.

No anger, though, and (can this be?) no fear.
Laughter. Leaping barriers, the car

plunges into the Hudson, down down down
through strange clear water. Does this mean we drown?

All gone before a single candid gleam
pierces the depths to light up what they mean,

this highway somehow changed to riverside
speedway. We’ve touched bottom but not died.

How frail it is, the guard rail in between
life and death, the waking and the dream,

the vertical where our waking lives are spent,
the horizontal that tells us what they meant.

Rachel Hadas

Rachel Hadas

Rachel Hadas's verse translation of Euripides' two Iphigenia plays was published in June by Northwestern University Press. A new collection, Poems for Camilla, is forthcoming in September from Measure Press.
Rachel Hadas

Latest posts by Rachel Hadas (see all)

Author: Rachel Hadas

Rachel Hadas's verse translation of Euripides' two Iphigenia plays was published in June by Northwestern University Press. A new collection, Poems for Camilla, is forthcoming in September from Measure Press.