Notes While Riding in a Car at Sunset
BY CATHERINE BRAMS
Middlebury College, ’18
2015 Adroit Prize for Poetry: Editors List
It is winter and the cornfields are on fire.
The sky is a crescendo of violet smoke,
the fields a white crust.
I am locked to the earth and it to me
and darkness sprays the fields
and I am alone.
Even when I am happy I run away
from the inevitable failures of my life. They stand
unblinking, trees with roots deep, the cornfields
on a winter evening. How old were you
the last time you caught on fire.
It is winter and the fire is gone and the corn
is gone and you—
I am nineteen and I am not
quite alive. Drive me towards the flames
and out of darkness, if you find the right road
it may never catch up.
I am not of this world, yet there is smoke
in my lungs and flame at my fingertips
and I must be alive to be this close to death.