by Dannye Romine Powell

Something said or unsaid
and I lelt home, drove hours,

rancor’s hot breath in my throat.
At sunset, I turned back—low grey sky,

streaks of purple and orange.
Traffic slowed. I smelled a green dampness

at the edge of the road, heard
a high, thin music I can’t describe,

though looking back, it may have been
the spinning of wheels. Cop at my window.

God-awful wreck ahead, he said. Don’t ask.
The earth heaved its belly to the heavens.

I called home. The line of cars did not move
for hours. When it did, there was nothing

to see on either side. No wrecked vehicles,
no tossed bodies or torn limbs. Only a low,

patchy fog swimming the fields.

DANNYE ROMINE POWELL is the author of three previous collections, two of which have won the Brockman-Campbell Award for the best book of poetry published by a North Carolinian in the prior year. She’s won fellowships in poetry from the NEA and the North Carolina Arts Council and has won a residency to the writer’s colony Yaddo, where she slept one icy winter in the bedroom once occupied by Sylvia Plath. She has worked for many years at the Charlotte Observer, where she is once again writing about books and authors. She is also the author of a non-fiction book, Parting the Curtains: Interviews with Southern Writers. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her husband Lew Powell, also a long-time journalist.