Dashboard Lights

By Peter Halstead

Dashboard lights reflected on the windshield
Late at night are my constellations, tattoos
Of speed and place, my personal magnetic field
As I head for coordinates I hope are true,

Setting circles projected on the howling cell
Of the empty night, icons of what my shell,
The metal cowling of a Chevrolet,
Gambles on the coming day.

Only these vague numbers, fueled by demons
In the furnace of the gassy world, keep
An even grip, the rocking of the deep
As steady as any star-bound rocket ship.

That I believe these backlit figures, set free
By a hand's hubris and tacked up on transparent
Glass, extremities of an unknown hurtling sea,
The promised land of my headlight's shaky tint,

Locks my drifting compass in its wheeling code:
Lost against receding rearview mirror lights,
Substituting for a darkened road
The whirling blackboard that the rider writes.

Tippet Alley
October 30th and 31st, 2010