Prompted: Flickering Headlights

I love prompts. They 1) make me feel obligated to eventually write using them; and 2) it gives me inspiration in a time when I feel too busy to find it elsewhere. So thank you, Dave. As always.


I’m not a fan of dark highways
with their lack of light—
all blackness this, possible doom that:

yet the headlights behind me are not a comfort,
encroaching too quickly
until a second passes and they’re gone
like the light of a thousand lightning bugs crushed into an aptly sized fist,
like a candle snuffed out between two fingertips,
like a flash or spark so quick, you’d think you’d dreamed it.

The darkness is playing games with me
or my mind has gone wild;
succumbing to loneliness on the winding asphalt,
highway to highway with indeterminate end

and so to roads I bend…
until I find my way to light more Christmas tree twinkle
than mid-night madness,
caught between a sense of overwhelming calm
and sadness
of the darkness yet to come.

But a flicker—the lights much brighter now,
so close they kiss the tailights’ red-lit shield,
so close I feel illumination in my throat,
suffocated, instead of blinded, by the light
turning me into shadows.

I drive, faster, faster,
light chasing through the dark like the tail end of a comet
but lights, they stay,
they brighten, they follow,
they do not let go,
the light like memories we shouldn’t know,
that maybe we’d be safe back in comfortable dark.

The story ends when the road ends,
or the gas runs out,
or the sun rises,
whatever comes first.

The story ends with headlights, with memories,
with light too close,
and highways too dark.

The story ends.

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