Birds & G-d Over New Jersey Turnpike

by Charlie Orlando Leppert

I always wondered what high tension wires
carry. It must be big. It must be important.
You have to be important to get up toward heaven
with the blackbirds that dance like a bedsheet, together,
then scatter like ashes across the linoleum floor
of the clouds, white as ghosts. Ghosts are just souls
unstuck in time, trapped in the world’s windshield wipers
like dead leaves. There are plenty of dead leaves
and ghosts and crosses on the roadside today.
I thought I saw a hillside all dressed in heather and pinks
a few miles back, but I can’t be sure - we passed
far too quickly for me to trust my eyes on it.
Besides, my hair is always getting in the way of the details -
I should cut it before it gets long enough for bad ideas
to get tangled in it, the bad ideas stuck like gum
to the underside of exit ramps, that tell me I need
somewhere with a bigger horizon and a brighter sky,
that the white on the back of my tongue
is the residue of everything I never said, festering,
and just when I am starting to really believe
that I am the ghost that haunts this body,
somebody punches a hole in the ceiling
to flood the roadway with sunlight.
Traffic is light and we are driving
out from under the clouds -
the road and the wind are singing
and I swallow the song the best I can.