by Mark Stevick

On a given night at ten in summer
I am driving someone or other's car
through wet turns in Essex, Manchester,
half expecting the road to disappear.

My window is open like the windows
in the lamp-lit houses I pass
where someone stands at a dark bureau
arranging or emptying a vase.

The night air is a radio tuned
to a voice out of Rome or Boston,
but the signal is weak, or it's turned
down too low, like someone left it on.

Strapped in behind the pull of the engine
and the high beams, I begin to hope
my lane will lift up over the ocean,
right off the scale of any map.

But the moon’s tank is half empty
in the gaps where the overlooks are.
These roads all lead back to my driveway.
I’ll leave those borrowed keys in the car.



Mark Wacome Stevick (Stiewig) grew up in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in a religious community whose members scorned drinking, dancing, and dice. In his teens he left Lancaster for New England. He lives now with his family in Salem, Massachusetts, where he writes plays, gives walking tours, and teaches creative writing.