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Gravel roads into a black hole
canopy of hardwood forest
were all the secrets of the cosmos,
all the signs of the zodiac,
she and I craved in those rock-and-roll days
before compact cars. We made aerobic love
in the king-size back seat of a ‘56 Buick
Roadmaster—pink Buck Rogers rocket ship
I flew with one finger locked
cool to the fuchsia suicide knob
while she clung so close
we exchanged our hearts’ accelerated drum
solos like the last all-out heat
in a battle of the bands. Flying fast as
teenage foreplay to our favorite parking spot, high
beams nipping recklessly at the heels of risk,
we turned our eyes from the road
for a breathless kiss, miles long. It’s been eons
since I’ve glimpsed the red needle’s defiance
to the right, and now, climbing past 95,
rushing home the emergency serum
for the fevered mare that so easily foaled
but cannot slip her afterbirth—now,
with old thrills relived for this instant,
should I regret my childless years,
the way we dreaded pregnancy
back then, how we chanced sparking
new life in our quest to test death? What if
this speed today was for my own
flesh and blood anxious within
a young wife? What if this
two-lane pavement turned
abruptly into gravel—rooster tails of dust
churning in the rearview—rolling
prairie morphed into maple and oak forest,
and this daylight into just one more dark
night’s play of rhythm-method
roulette around the old back road to Omar’s
Park with her? Slowing down to 110,
I whisper What love. What luck. But
coming to a whiplash stop,
to the ‘70 Chev’s engine ticking
Geiger counter-frenzied, I wonder
was it ever love at all, and if
it was, then how long, I ask,
does luck’s half-life last?

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