D. Cottingham – 1 poem

Each of Us

                                                Lying beside you in darkness, I hear,

                                                through the door we left cracked to invite in

autumn’s dryer, cooler, miraculous air,

                                                the sound of trucks on the Interstate

over the distant, treeless plains.

                                                I can visualize each one muscling

its way in the vast night, headlamps

shining bravely, each driver focusing

on the imminent, attending to

                                                the balance between acceleration,

deceleration, shifting gears, peering

into what the night allows. 

I can see change and interchange. I hear tires

heavy as longing on pavement, rotating,

gaining traction, propelling each truck,

an always-moving-forward in the expanse,

mimicking the sound of a river,

a migration from one reality to the next,

each truck making its way, as best it can, each

truck passing, being passed, in unending-hunger

of joining, interweaving, moving

their individual bodies up the dark road—

home to lonely narratives. The Interstate’s

dark gravity draws each toward one more

unseen conclusion, the sound

of their passing soughing in the cracked door,

where I glean only a fleeting meaning,

each individual a shadow ghosting the road,

each hurling to the extent of its force,

whining, grinding—while I give a low sigh

and check the clock, longing for sleep,

listening to crickets singing from grassy lairs,

hearing with my whole body throbbing

and humming in the darkness,

hearing everything singing, full and hungry

at once. Isn’t this the essence of my sensing,

little valences and hints, blinking, sighing,

reaching my hand from the bed,

the meanwhiles expanding in crisp autumn air,

while I breathe this moment of clarity, 

                                                as I feel you next to me, turning on your side,

                                                shoulder exposed from the covers, perhaps

because you want to feel the air too,

                                                your shoulder bare,

topless, because you know I like that, and

                                                because you like it too, touching my skin

with your foot even while you sleep,

                                                expressing a tactile faith in love,

to be felt, to be knelt in,

                                                even as you lie next to me, each of us

bathing in nearness, touching each other,

                                                a miracle in this vastness,

the feeling of not feeling alone, even

while each of us are in our bodies alone.

D. Cottingham