Five fifteen AM and the road says,
“It was not a good night for cats.”
“So I noticed,” I say. I accelerate gently
along the familiar route.
“But better than usual for raccoons,”
says the road.
I push the pedal a little further down.
“Hmmmm,” I say, noncommittally.
For I do not care for raccoons.
“You do realize,” says the road, after a time,
“that I don’t really like them either.”
One of us sighs. Deeply.
“But try wearing a dead one all day. And eventually,
well, you start rooting for them.”
I lift my travel mug to my lips.
I swallow, then nod slowly.
Set the mug back in its holder.
“I guess I can see that,” I say.
We sink into companionable silence. I drive on.
Soon, the traffic signals will return to their daytime cycles.
The sun will rise up
and some of its rays will shine down
upon the carcasses left by darkness’s casual collisions.
I grip the wheel.
I think of my own cat back home, safe and sound.
Perhaps some creatures
are just not meant
to be let out
into the night.
“I can take it, though,” says the road.
“Whatever’s dished upon me, believe me, I can take.
I’m tough. Hard as rock. No worries here.”
“Hmmmm,” I say, one last time.
Then I straighten my spine.
Push my middle-aged shoulders back and down.
And without a glance in my rearview mirror,
I drive on, incautiously,
under the blinking amber.