Islands, between the Lanes

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Islands, between the Lanes

She never considered the cold
of a collide,
not having had much to do
with car hoods;
thoughts passed mainly
in swerve anyway, uncurbed swirls
of blue air, splayed hair,
cracked refractions of jacket, taxi–

and though the islands between the lanes
were not writ in hieroglyphics, she understood well enough
that their rubbed cobbles
were cliffs–

and that she could–would, if she could–
fall off,
and whether what bade her stay
was the light
or what wasn’t light at all,
but, rather, that tunnel that she carried
at her neck, as heavy as mounded earth
and a long dark hole can be, she couldn’t say–
only that it was some kind of training
in either light or darkness
that allowed her to stand in those places,
during that time,
waiting for something
to change–

****************
Draft poem for Brendan’s great prompt on With Real Toads on immrama; island hopping of a kind. 

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15 Comments on “Islands, between the Lanes”


  1. Those islands, the refuges against he river of hoods… a place where we linger, though many times I prefer not.. .. and better to stay than connect with metal..

  2. hedgewitch Says:

    Really complex and fascinating poem, Karin. I could quote it all back to you but will just say the handling of the islands, the feel of insane movement around one and that pull of the cliff-edge, as well as the image of the tunnel, ‘as heavy as mounded earth/and a long dark hole can be’ are all just visually and mentally stunning, a dark voyage to an unnown place, through perils both unknown and known too well. You have taken this challenge to the very highest level. My pleasure to read it.

  3. Sherry Marr Says:

    I love the idea of the “islands between the lanes”……..each human, each car , might be one. the falling off and the staying because of the light is really wonderful.


  4. Brilliant! Pathos at a stoplight. If you could-would, you could run over that island with your car (as I have unintentionally before). I also like “that tunnel that she carried at her neck.” Many layers here.

  5. coalblack Says:

    I love that somebody used this type of island. Those last several lines cap a marvelous poem perfectly.

  6. Shawna Says:

    You amaze me every time.

    “She never considered the cold
    of a collide” … I mean, damn. That’s an incredible opening.

    All the rest is just killer as well. Really, if I could hold up a poem as an example of why I love poetry, this would be it. This is exactly the type of poem I enjoy most. You’d better believe I’ll be rereading this a number of times. Bravo.


  7. This feels like I’m reading via a telescope that magnifies everything, including the emotions attached to the speaker’s experience… For a second, I was certain I could hear her breathing… and see the light (and the absence of it) through her eyes…

  8. Brendan Says:

    Yay! Islands are where the literal and metaphorical are one, and these traffic islands are such true way-stations between steps between rivers of traffic (or one winding Ocean) that we can feel the inbreath and partaking there, “some kind of training” or initiation into the art of stepping into the light … We are well advised to stay there with you, and listen … Loved it.

  9. Kerry O'Connor Says:

    This is such a unique take on the prompt. I. too, like the way your islands can be read as literal or figurative.

  10. Toni Says:

    I can smell the exhaust of the buses as they transport souls from island to island. Very nice.


  11. I love the waiting for change and seeing the cliffs in the cobbles…very visual and an interesting image…the length and blurriness.

  12. M Says:

    really, K, an inspired turn (or stop, as it were) at that island no one remembers. ~


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