Night-driving, slipping past gas stations
and guard-rails gone static with speed,
you unwind and recover, erratically tense,
chain-smoking through the corners
of mouth and window.
I can tell when we’re getting close
not only by the sign advertising
CORNING 13 mi.,
but in the way you slide back, relax,
ease up on the gas pedal,
even though it’s 2 a.m.
and we’re tired. Suddenly you’re no longer
in a hurry. Your voice loses its impatient crackle,
becomes all at once softer in that home stretch.