Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Jane Adair: Soundtrack

Because I was twenty
and in a hurry for the next stage to begin

I’d driven all night to see
the ocean. I was in love
with the young man at the wheel,

the way his chestnut chest hairs swirled
like an animal had bedded there.
I loved the arch of his slender

feet, his fingers with the half-moons under
the nail beds. I slept through
the Appalachians, unbent my legs

in Georgia and woke to a weak Florida sun
filtered through haze, a monochrome
dawn, a turnpike empty and white

as sky. I thought it clever
when he said clear was a color:
the color of everything

that couldn’t be seen.

I imagine that nutria were bobbing
in their brackish dens as
we powered past
roadside weeds sparkling with dew,

taking turns at the wheel in the car he’d dubbed gray shark. Hungry and wide, it plied
the fog while schools of palms
and palmettos fanned in its wake.

It was the era when we all hummed
the dum dum . . . dum dum . . . from Jaws,
the soundtrack of our fear
and, O, how we cracked ourselves up.

How blind could that bimbo have been
to go for a swim in the dark?

No one knew that brutality
was closer than it appeared. I turned to the rearview

with sleep-crusted eyes to smooth my hair
in time to see a car far, far behind us

glide off the shoulder and into the mist of – what

– a swamp? A tree? That’s the thing.
There wasn’t a swerve.
It was elegant, balletic, a cinematic dissolve

that seemed to sparkle or shatter
when I blinked.

When I found my voice it sounded
more like question than imperative—
and the longer it took
to find words the farther away the car,
or idea of car, or trick of light.

What proof did I need? And why?
Many years later I’d try to explain
how it was, how a car can look

like a clumsy pelican
with feathers fluttering like shrapnel.
How the congress of reeds saw all.

How the distance between me and the lover,
a man and a thicket of mangrove,
would someday grow

into something as colorless,
as unforgiving, as concrete.

Copyright 2016 Jane Adair (formerly Jane Wampler)


Jane Adair headshot

3 comments on “Jane Adair: Soundtrack

  1. zion
    May 24, 2017

    I thought it excellent! Well done!


  2. Jane Adair
    February 11, 2016

    Reblogged this on adairjane1.


  3. Pingback: Jane Adair: Soundtrack – adairjane1

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This entry was posted on February 2, 2016 by in Poetry and tagged , .
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