Crush Hour

Then there’s crush hour, which comes and goes
on quieter tires. Again the traffic slows
as residential streets congest with Fords
the same age as their drivers, rolling towards
houses they will pointedly roll by.
Their low beams are embarrassing the sky.
The orangina sun has ducked behind
a middle school, and will come out to blind
only the girl so perfectly obsessed
she can’t wait ten more minutes to go west.
And there she goes. Dissolve to white.
This is the last crush hour. Tomorrow night
they’ll all be upstairs, screen-lit in their beds,
pursuing crushes into comment threads,
while outside in the heat, the straggling traffic
dwindles to a single demographic:
their fathers, who could drive these streets asleep,
who do, who all have rendezvous to keep
with houses they don’t live in anymore,
who roll by in the low gears, watching for
the bedroom light that isn’t coming on,
the mother-shape descending to the lawn
to call the child home who isn’t gone.

Copyright © 2018 Eric McHenry. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.