Strangers on the New Jersey Turnpike

July 30, 2016
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I knew you for a muted moment,
a lone figure in the glow of the highway,
sharing a cigarette with a disapproving moon
while your car, in apathetic rebellion,
puffed its own crystal smoke.
It was past midnight on a Friday,
and I was slouched in the backseat of a glumly clean rental car,
my feet pressed against the window,
my head tucked between my seatbelt and the door handle,
my eyes sore with the hour.
The radio buzzed with songs my parents knew,
and I buzzed with the novelty of vision.
Were you waiting for a tow? I’d think so.
But in that muted moment,
motionless in the sterile light of a street lamp,
you were careless in the sort of way
that makes a teenage girl bite her bottom lip,
and wish for something, something, someone.
The traffic crawled, slower than my sleeping sister’s breathing,
and you met my eyes for a good fifteen seconds
before we passed you by.
And perhaps it was my tired mind,
or my hormonal imagination,
but I swear to God you winked.

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