SKOWHEGAN by Genevieve Payne

There’s the laundry mat on Island Ave. where you can get a tan and a soft serve
and the green lights it uses to bully the night, blinking and exonerating,

the green lights that made me think I knew it and I couldn’t be lost from it even miles down.
There the orchestra of the darkness falling,

subsuming the crickets in those over grown fields, the few flaking silos,
and the deer carcass hauled down to the ditch in parts after the red pick-up swiped it, skidded, and steadied,

leaving for a while, a pink burst that clung to the dark like smoke from a censer.
There was the cold flood of knowing as I stood on the dirt shoulder and watched,

while somewhere north the engine brakes of logging trucks ached on and headlights
swept low, west then south toward their own absolution,

the Texaco station, traces of kids doing burnouts in early morning, green peel of traffic lights,
the traces and the sounds.

Genevieve Payne received an MFA in poetry from Syracuse University, where she was the 2019 recipient of the Leonard Brown Prize. Her recent work can be found in Colorado ReviewNashville ReviewThe Cortland Review, RHINO, and The Adroit Journal.