lights chasing each other

Highway at Night. Photo courtesy of

Alone on a full charter bus at nineteen
she leaned a warm cheek against the glass
to feel the bone-cold outside
crystals forming near her breath
staring into the first
moments of the day
after Christmas.
Speeding southbound through
stars and towns, the family
dinner long cold behind her;
had they yet cleared Virginia?
She looked over the meadows to the
distant ranch house roofs,
long low rows of blinking lights
the red and green chasing each other
and she wondered at women
inside those houses ā€“ were they
still celebrating? Or
did they go to sleep
with the lights on
exhausted from the
effort required by
relentless holiday cheer
and she wondered about the
contentment of one her age in that
house in the middle ā€“ if it was all she hoped,
her Christmas, her life ā€“ or if that girl was
looking out her own window
watching lights chase each other
down the interstate
phantom traces of
diesel fumes to
quicken her pulse
ever so slightly.

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