For Years You Observed Night from a Distance
only spying its telltale fluorescence
from a backseat window.
Night was the length of two western states;
it took hours to pass.
You couldn’t resolve its shape
though it suggested a dome,
could not make out the track inside
lined in ice, least of all the bobsledder
hurtling along his circuit,
rutting chutes and straightaways,
gashing and grooving hairpin turns
that flowered like white violence.
Now night is as close as your own runners,
their constant carving, their shave and shush.
It’s growing dark.
You throw yourself down again.
Kathleen Flenniken is the author of two poetry collections, most recently Plume, a meditation on the Hanford Nuclear Site. Her awards include a fellowship from the NEA, a Pushcart Prize, and a residency at the Bloedel Reserve.