Harm’s Way

By A. E. Stallings

It sounds like a country road.
It sounds like the swerve
Into the oncoming lane
Of a blind curve,
One teenager goading another
About their nerve;

It sounds like a wet stretch
Where a bridge tosses
Its back over a river
And a valley of mosses,
The humble guardrail studded
With makeshift crosses,

Like the shrug of black ice
As the cold gets colder
Running next to the ditch
Off the soft shoulder
Where the odometer stops
And no one gets older,

Or the path in a fairy tale
Through an ancient wood
Where the crumbs you dropped are gobbled
And you’re lost for good.
And I would keep you out of it
If I only could.