lightning bug streaks
illuminate my windshield, July nights
winding home, slow down

bone glow of tombstones, soon moonglow
the earth sips the sky, red wine sun
bobbing lower and lower, below the cool seam
of the horizon

smoke floats in a flat cloud, held
by humidity, slowly shadows a darkening cornfield

crossing Haw creek into Hope, headlights
flash, guardrails and shiny dividers on newly laid tar, speed
limit 35, slow

down past Shaton’s Outdoor liquidation: can’t find anyone
who wants to work, the owner told me yesterday

the compass of granary architecture juts
skyward, into the final minutes of summer
dusk, pointing past stars, and slow down

slow down

I cast my net out and out
and out again, trying to pull in some time, some
smooth pebble to carry in my pocket,
some memory to run my fingers over, that will feed
me in this empty night

perhaps some trailing star will snag, as I drag
it in, the cord just slips through all those
reflections, can’t hold the moon

my blinker flashes, right, right,
right, and the car glides through the gathering
night and my sight is narrowed

pastel panel ahead between dark trees
everything’s an outline now, charcoal
smudged on a watercolor sky, slow down