Rules of the hard road
A tortoise shell works against most predators,
but there is always that one mistake:
crossing the road and the rumble
of a four-wheel drive pickup truck.
Why a turtle would listen to a chicken
and attempt to cross the road I don’t know.
Late summer and caterpillars lemming on the blacktop,
and there is always that arrogant raccoon or dufus opossum.
Only a deer has any chance, able to leap in a single bound,
but often they lose the sucker’s bet.
But so does the brandy old-fashioned driver and his crumpled truck.
Survival of the fittest must include random selection.
Why this and why that a calculus with variables and unknowns.
Here’s the problem: the pavement feels warm in the sun
and the opposite side of the road beckons like a lighthouse.
Luck dresses up as the solution.
Fog swallows the lake,
I glide into the damp.
Thrust sightless in the dew cloud.
Pull the oars against the shivers
of the water’s ripples.
No echo moves.
The boat weightless,
the water sighs.
The placental fog
feeds and protects me.
I metamorphose in the cocoon.
My breath ticks. Hypnotic.
The sound a shroud
I swaddle in. Faith I will not
burst upon the unseen.
Cut my umbilical connection
to the aloneness.
The singular sweet taste,
being hidden from the shore
that cannot touch me.
Doug Van Hooser calls southern Wisconsin home and Chicago theater in the non-Covid world. His poetry has appeared in Roanoke Review, Sheila-Na-Gig, After Hours, and Poetry Quarterly among other publications. His fiction can be found in a number of journals and his plays have received readings at Chicago Dramatist Theatre and Three Cat Productions. More at dougvanhooser.com