Stoplight (Soundkeeper)

C.M. Jones

I wake up with my head full of unused wires,
all different colors. I quickly geolocate myself.
A smoky haze covers the mountains to the west,
withholding miles of rocky grandeur from
an undeserving populace as punishment.
All along the medians yellow-vested men
shape bushes with hedge trimmers so that
people can admire a flash of manicured greenery,
a sense of control despite the browning tips
on the evergreen needles. Idling at the light
I bliss out to the drone of leaf blowers
and look past my face in the mirror.
I was never only human, my body
idling in the light. A plumber with his arm in a sling
spits on the asphalt. His partner inhales a final drag
before putting on a surgical mask. I see the sky
from my old self and remember that you are
gone forever. The exhaust pipes rattle
like angels with throat cancer. Camptotheca acuminata,
the happy tree that inspired chemotherapy. Some
leaves spiral out of their particular history, becoming
merchandise for pastel retirees. The sun is setting,
in fact, it is setting all the time. I hear a song
you used to sing. I can no longer count the days
like a car counts miles. The stars are out there too,
roving in the ether, like shadows of forgotten lyrics. 

C.M. Jones holds an MA degree in English from Brooklyn College. He currently writes and works in North Carolina among deer and tall trees. His work has appeared in Dreginald and elsewhere.