The Star of “Interstate”

By Chard deNiord

Featured Art: Afterglow by Jonas Lie

The clouds were curtains that parted onto the show
of sky above the scar of 89.
Oh, the big blue screen of autumn days
and score that featured mainly strings.


Oh,
the epic Something, Then Nothing that opened as
a matinee but played into the night
on a single reel inside the room that housed
the machine.
I drove with one eye open and the other
closed.
I couldn’t tell if the things I was seeing—
broken line, blinking light, leaping
deer—were live or frozen frames.
Were on
the road or in my mind, into which
I’d also driven at a dangerous speed.
I was bearing down in the passing lane inside
the theater of my Chevrolet.
I was seeing
myself through the lens of a windshield in the opposite
lane.
I could smell the sky with the windows closed.
I could hear her voice from every cloud, “Come home,
my love. Come home.”
I believed there was still a way,
despite my fame as the man who flies, to return
as myself some day and give her the keys.


Chard deNiord is the author of six books of poetry, In My Unknowing (U. of Pittsburg Press, 2020) Interstate (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015), The Double Truth (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011), Night Mowing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005), Sharp Golden Thorn (Marsh Hawk Press, 2002) and Asleep in the Fire (University of Alabama Press, 1990). He is also the author of two books of interviews with eminent American poets titled I Would Lie To You If I Could (University of Pittsburgh Press) and Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs (Marick Press, 2011). He founded and co-directed The New England College MFA Program from 2001 to 2007 while also teaching at Providence College, where he worked until his retirement this year from 1998 to 2020 as a Professor of English and Creative Writing. In 2018 he became the essay editor of Plume Poetry Journal. He is a trustee of the Ruth Stone Trust and the former poet laureate of Vermont from 2015-2019. He lives in Westminster West, Vermont with his wife Liz.

Originally appeared in NOR 14.

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