The highway is another kind of music; Steady hiss of tires, occasional cigarettes flicked out of windows, quick horn blasts. You say it reminds you of a record needle And the sound of years passing Something you fell asleep to as a child The album ending but the needle still spinning You'd wake, debating whether to cross The room, bare feet on the cold oak floor Or stay in bed Imagining or dreaming How the melody will continue And where it should end. Your mother's footsteps coming To stop the record, a natural sound Urgent though Like the need to shut our apartment window When neighbors are fighting Their anger strangely musical, staccato bursts of breaking glass, Crescendos, Interludes of silence, And a man's legato pleas interrupted By you Looking around at the end of another day—ashtrays spilled or overflowing, dust thick on the piano keys, a cocktail glass sweating into the walnut coffee table— And saying, "Baby, we've got a long way to go."
John Abbott is a writer, musician, and English instructor whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Georgetown Review and upstreet. He lives with his wife and daughter in Kalamazoo, Michigan.