engine squeals, fan belt slaps severing all ties
the gas pedal becomes a foot rest
in fading twilight two pairs of feet track neon winks
thunderclaps drown their steps
they sprint through puddles giggling and shivering
register as man and wife in the motel shack
their cabin has one twin bed
she hangs wet blouse and jeans - "I'll shower first if that's ok"
he dangles wet t-shirt and cuttoffs next to hers
she emerges wearing a white towel
drapes it over the headboard
raises the patchwork quilt
folds back the sheets
arranges the pillows
slips into bed
he retreats into the bathroom
slides off underwear
lets hot stream douse hair
wraps towel round waist
leans on tub patting forehead cheeks chin...
opens door flips towel on dresser
jumps under covers
she smiles -
"Are you ok?
You look nervous."
he met her, a college ride board refugee, at breakfast sixteen hours ago;
her other sat opposite pulling on the straps of a pale gingham dress,
long blonde hair unbound, garden flower above left ear - "Thank you for
taking our daughter." - her father patted his back, shook hands nodding
slowly, kissed his child on the cheek, opened the car door, turned away
strangers in bucket seats, she told jokes, sewed a loose button on his shirt,
made sandwiches on french bread - tomatoes, roasted peppers, fresh cilantro -
smiled whenever he looked, laughed nervously at the New York state line
she lies on her side, faces the wall, switches off the lamp
he stares at the ceiling, holds breath, hears the current of her sighs break on white pillowcase
he could brush the hair off her shoulder
trace the shape of her arm
stroke the course of her spine
to her hip
across her thigh
drift along belly - her rounded belly
tomorrow feet in cold stirrups
he sleeps on his back, hands on stomach
in the morning, the motel manager asks "How's your wife?"
snaps a shot of the couple, brunette and blonde in greyscale, next to a highway sign
"Niagara Falls 18 mi"