February 2008

John Powers


John Powers spent several years as a private investigator in New York City, before relocating with his wife to a quiet corner of Connecticut, where he is now at work on a novel. His first published poem recently appeared in The Adirondack Review.

Made of Rain

I drive my wife's Subaru
through the cloudburst, windows down,
music low.  Between flashflood advisories,
teenpop starlets rule the radio.

From behind, a towtruck climbs the bridge, red bulbs
flashing like lamps on a hill that wink at disaster...

I pull to the side, let him pass,
and wonder what troubles await
on the far side of the swollen river—
family of four, freshly dead;
or a spark plug that failed to fire?

It happened six,
six or seven years ago.
On a night like this.
The roads washed out.
Slick cliff, sundered tires,
the gape of a black lake below.

Within the wreckage she waited,
the car sinking, and soon submerged.
For several more minutes she remained
sweetly winsome, age nineteen.  How fickle
her savoir must have seemed.  How slow.

across the windshield,
a reflection of hands.  
The glass distends in rainblown shoals.  

I follow the lights
as far as the causeway,
before turning, once more,
for home.  

If teenaged, tonight, and still
confined to Ridgefield, Conn.,
perhaps we could better conceive
the drowsy ache of asphyxiation.
But the wrecker's long gone.
The children are in bed,
quiet as a drowning.



John Powers: Poetry
Copyright ©2008 The Cortland Review Issue 38The Cortland Review