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D E C E M B E R   1 9 9 0

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by Steven Cramer

Hear Steven Cramer read this poem (in RealAudio):

RA 28.8, RA 14.4

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Also by Steven Cramer:
Villanelle After A Burial (1997)
The Night We Knew For Sure (1994)

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We wanted only to get home
Where the heat rises to a sudden
Dryness in the mouth: evidence
Of marriage on our breath. On the Turnpike,

Snow whipped its spindrift against the windshield,
Mounted on the guardrail, the median, and when
Our car slurred into its three-sixty reel,
Unwinding as a whiteness swaddled us,

Time didn't stop, speed, or slow,
So futureless was that single revolution.
For seconds we were hands on the clock's face,
The wheel in my grip, helpless play.

If our glances met, they witnessed nothing
Like recognition or requital, but
Our glances didn't meet. Then
With a shuddering punch to the bumper,

The guardrail set us straight:
No other cars in sight. No lights
In the woods. Even the snow immobile.
Till the engine caught, and we crept into the exit;

And turning over and over on the motel bed,
We fucked with the recklessness of the lucky,
The unhoused, the betrayed, our cries reaching
Only toward what's next, then next, then next.

Copyright© 1992 by Steven Cramer. From The World Book: Poems (Copper Beech Press, 1992). All rights reserved. Used by permission.
The Atlantic Monthly; December 1990; The Accident; Volume 266, No. 6; page 112.

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