A prose poem by Matt Gillick
The beauty blonde on the billboard is having the time of her life clicking the faded brown filter of the candy apple cigarette with her knuckle. Fun without ever taking a puff. We’re on the road, I see the road, I see the beauty blonde, and we see each other before I run over an opossum that might be dead already. Our moment ends quickly and she’s a quarter mile behind me. I don’t angle the rearview to see if she sticks out her plastered neck for one last look. Am I glad to be on the road? You bet. The highway is now a tightrope we need to toe. Her and I stretched like opposite ends of a rubber band ready to snap. A tightrope to walk where a long journey’s pathfinding wind of sleep take and wobble me. The WAKE-UP strips on the Jersey road are the balancing pole. No swerving—try not to swerve—too much. I wonder if she swerves in the night like I do, maybe she finally took that puff to keep her awake and not come back to meet my end of the rubber band. We probably wouldn’t have worked out. I’ll see her in the sideview when I come back.