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.
Also by Rachel Hadas (see all)
- Voyage - March 2, 2023
- Though Much Is Taken, Much Abides:Fifteen Years of Literature & Medicine - May 22, 2022
- The Labyrinth, the Septic Tank - October 30, 2021