The Whole World Is Gone
Driving alone at night, the world’s pitch, black velvet
stapled occasionally by red tail lights
on the opposite highway but otherwise mild
panic when the eyes’ habitual check
produces nothing at all in the rearview mirror,
a black blank, now nothing exists
but the dotted white lines of the road,
and the car scissors the blackness open
like the mind’s path through confusion,
but still no clarity, no arrival, only Pennsylvania darkness,
rocks, cliffs, vistas by day that thicken to black. It’s
sensual, though, too, and interestingly mental. What
I do alone, loving him in my mind. Trying not to
let imagination win over reality. Hurtling through the night
passions so spent become facts one observes. Not tempered,
just momentarily out of view by the body that perceives them.
Turning that into my prayer: to be deprived.
About this Poem
“For better or worse, I tend to do a lot of thinking in my poems. But lately I've been trying to pay more attention to when and where I do that thinking, to be attentive to the settings in which meditation takes place. Sometimes the disconnect between the mind and the world is itself revealing, but in ‘The Whole World Is Gone,’ I think the setting deeply complements, indeed elicits and allows, a certain set of realizations to occur.”
Jennifer Grotz is the author of Window Left Open (Graywolf Press, 2016). She teaches at the University of Rochester and lives in Rochester, New York.
Date Published: 2014-02-04
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/whole-world-gone