Dennis Maulsby


The new sedan floats down I-80. It’s a black-tar
September night on the Great American Desert.

My body lightens on the hilltops and gains pounds
in the draws. On flat stretches, the highway

becomes a tunnel cut by the vehicle’s metal.
As the mile markers sprint past
the FM jazz breaks, fades out, replaced by

a rising hymn sung by thousands of voices.

a flash like near lightning shocks my night vision;
dazed eyes watch black, brown, and white faces
flow across the windshield.

the skyline of New York City swoops closer,
a last pulse of jet engines
flexes the 747’s controls in my hands
plastic paper clay flesh bone…burst and burn…

a final ash gray vomit of iron glass dust and life.

Angled across the median, engine dead, the car’s high-beams
quiver and dim. Still belt-locked, I watch spirit faces
merge back into my vehicle, its metal forged from the puddled

steel scrap of two collapsed towers alloyed with human souls.

Author’s Note: This poem won Second Place National/World Events category 2006 Lyrical Iowa