Photo by Christopher Raley

Exit 387

Always it’s point A to point
B, restless speed in oblong
circles. But that night after
dinner, we saw her walking toward
exit 387 on the north bound
freeway. Her stiff and staggered
gait was like one unaware of
how terrain changes context.
I pulled over and my wife
jogged back to meet her. Mute mouths
knew voice where I heard only cars
lash the van with their slipstream,
mark us with a shudder on their
nescient routes, insistent pursuits.
Oregon, she said later in the
passenger seat and us listening
quietly, back in freeway’s
run, comparing hours to minutes.
She looked emaciated. I
told her: I can drop you by a store
up the road. She nodded, eyes
vacant. A soft click and rustle, my
wife slid dollars from her wallet as the
xanthic hue rose and dimmed, light by
yawning light. And we passed through those
zones of night both seen and ill-defined.