POETRY: JANELLE RAINER – HIGHWAY PROPHECY

 

Highway Prophecy

The man is sitting in a white plastic lawn chair
on the side of the highway, wearing a ball cap, aviators
and khaki shorts. Lounging, one leg propped up.

Looking very relaxed,
to tell you the truth.

Holding a white sign with black letters:
“Jesus says the end is near.”
I watch him in the rear view after driving by.

I wonder how long he’ll sit there. I wonder
who he’s trying to save.

Something touches my cheek, probably a stray hair.
I try to brush the feeling away. It moves to my chin
and I look in the mirror.

A small brown spider drops from my face onto the seat
beside me. It takes everything

to stop myself from killing it.
Sometimes mercy is nothing more than restraint.

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