When the train’s headlight veers
to kill my right eye, I panic
and the road goes black.
There are no white-line boundaries
as the radio croons “I can’t
stop lovin’ you,” so I ask
each truck that passes to rescue me
back on course.

Aiming for their small red lights
I name the drivers: Texas John
with a load of drills, Norman out of Tulsa
for Safeway again, and hailing
mud-splattered from Florida
is Skinny Bill “truckin’ for Jesus.”

If I sit beside him high up in the cab,
he tells me he’s moving pom-poms and batons,
and that it’s God’s will you’re gone.
Then he lists the ways I should repent:
ashes, denial, prayer. Recalling
the brightness of your hand across my leg.
I can only say there’s not one bit of evidence
I ever knew you. No bruises.
no address, no fallen threads of hair.

Steering by instinct, I get to that blank stretch
where mountains flatten
and stars pitch white along their edge.
I feel stupid with your name in my mouth,
or to claim that what is not seen
is even there. So stupid
that what I did see
was just loneliness crouched beneath your ribs
striking blindly out, within my arms.

Pamela Stewart (known as Jody) has written 6 full-length books of including The Red Window (Univ. of Georgia Press, 1997), and Ghost Farm (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2010.) A chapbook, Just Visiting, was published by Grey Suit Editions, London, 2014.  In 1982 she received a Guggenheim and over the years she’s published in a number of magazines and received 3 Pushcart publications.