Alexandra Pechman

Headed for Chicago from the border
of Texas, where we escaped a party,
we kept hearing the one same pop song,
crinkling chords of heavy bass filled with darkness,
as distorted drums blurred out the meaning
and looped lyrics echoed endless driving

since after waiting hours, I was driving
past Dallas up until Memphis, border
towns piling up as I approached, meaning
we were getting farther from the party
we left behind, but closer to darkness:
then a storm overpowered the pop song.

I tried to ignore it, let the pop song
anchor me to the road because driving
had become difficult in this darkness
only torn by flashes of lightning’s border
as if behind the deep clouds laid a party,
an electric stage cursed with too much meaning.

Rain and bugs beat down iron dust, meaning
I should slow us down, tune out the pop song,
turn us around and head back to our party,
but there was nothing between me and driving
as if I crossed a border in myself,
my body rippling with darkness,

as I wandered closer to the darkness
that set down on towns in scars of meaning:
here the only monument was a border,
the only magic sounded like a pop song.
Decision slid into moment, driving
a firm line between me and that party

and who I might have been at that party,
as I saw running towards me in darkness
the black dog they say appears when driving
for too long—cracked light in the eyes—meaning
you’re about to die. I turned off the pop song,
waking up; my thoughts all dream, without border.

I’d been driving, my friend said, all night. The party
ended yesterday, the border passed in darkness
hours ago, its meaning fleeting as a pop song.