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On the Road at Night

Driving alone
on a quiet
country road
on a moonless night,

not a single car
or house nearby;

a chorus of crickets
the loudest sound;

the road a
smooth ribbon of black
unspooling seamlessly
into the warm night—

except for
the occasional
pale ribbon
the blackness
like a question mark.

I stop the car
to investigate,
step out
on to the road,

and encounter
an old friend
I had hoped to see
on the trail that day—

a rattlesnake,
quietly soaking up
the sun’s warmth
still lingering
in the now-dark road.

The two of us meet
in silent recognition—
each aware
the other
has the power
to harm

but will wield it
only as a last resort.

Tonight, as usual,
we meet in peace—

just two creatures
breathing together
under the stars,

finding our way home
through the darkness.


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