The faded, sometimes missing line
at the highway’s edge conspires this morning
with fog, a moving dome of uncertainty,
and the muscle in my chest that clenches
and relaxes tamely now but picks
secret reasons and moments to race,
bored by its mundane life, its narrow
choices: beat day and night. Or stop.
Nurses plug their patients into machines—
we are piecework—collect their printouts,
and the shiny doctor descends, thumps,
taps, listens, says, “Take your pulse often.”
As in the song, I think, “Keep a close watch,”
but don’t say it, and shut the doors gently
so not to alarm the hovering fog.
Roland Sodowsky worked in Kansas wheat fields as a teenager. His books include Things We Lose, an AWP award winner, Interim in the Desert, Un-Due West, and poetry and fiction in Atlantic Monthly and Midwest Quarterly, among others. A 2009 Kansas Voices winner, he lives with his wife, Laura Lee Washburn, in Pittsburg, KS.