“On South Providence Road, 11:34 PM” by Tonya Eberhard

Catacombs and catastrophe fill my head.
I cannot sleep. We end up going for a drive.
The car pushes past streetlights and traffic stops—
little by little the comfort of the city shrinks away.
Our eyesight becomes limited, seeing only what the
high beams illuminate. I hear no radio, just the
hymns of our own exhales. When a deer leaps into
our tunneled vision, I scream. Still, there is enough
distance between car and gaping deer for you to
break without causing the windshield to shatter.
We are close enough to see the deer blink. once.
twice. Its eyes a black void with shutters, the only
part of it that moves. Three times, it blinks, before
bounding off the road. Finding your arm around me,
I do not know what to admit to myself.  Later on,
you ask me if I am ready to get on with my life.
An ache gathers in my temples. Coffins blossom
in my head. Voids curl up in my eye sockets. I
cannot say anything. I suppose that is why they
say ‘like a deer caught in the headlights’ when
panic and confusion ensue. Too dumb for words,
but not cowardly enough to run away, all we can do
is stare into oncoming disaster, committing that
grave sin of omission.

 


Tonya Eberhard recently graduated from the University of Missouri. She currently lives in Minnesota. Her work has appeared in Fauna Quarterly, Algebra of Owls, The Commonline Journal, Dirty Chai, Yellow Chair Review, Open Minds Quarterly, and many others.

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