You’ve been driving for days, past twisted street signs, trees
uprooted, roads pocked and gaping, everything swallowed
whole by night. But this escape has not been
earned through mornings when the wind settles
to a silence even your breath cannot impede.
For weeks your eyes culled shapes: swarming bats, gulped mice
in hawk teeth, wingbeats like flitting eyes in sleep,
or what you’d like to remember of the nights
when sleep came easy. Now, on the beach, your headlights shine
on the water, wheels sinking into sand, the first rays already
gleaming out. A couple startles you, jogging over washed-up shells,
tracks quickly flooding, sand pounding off heels.
They do not see you there, waiting, leering—
watching them until, like the dawn, they vanish again,
fading slowly past the pier, the darkening edges of the lake.