This week’s poem captures a grim and darkly funny moment: copious rain and a couple stuck behind a logging truck on a mountain road. The music of the sentences and unflinching voice of the speaker brings to mind the poems of Philip Larkin.

In the poem’s final question, we also see that this is a poem about someone trying to understand the motivations of his/her/their partner. The poem’s final act – to provide some unlikely hope “that nothing is coming our way” – sends us back to the title. There is something coming their way, and it’s probably not good.

Keith Dunlap lives in Portland, and Hip Pocket Press published his first collection, “Storyland,” in 2016.

Headlights

By Keith Dunlap

The rain so unrelenting that the rain

and the sound of rain are one pragmatic roaring,

a cataract through which the logging truck

ahead of us laboriously climbs:

on one side, the blur of an angry forest

crowding as close as it can,

like a mob pressed against a chain-link fence

to watch us slowly die;

on the other side, we can only guess

that the precipitous decline is a bottomless well

into which our car could be tossed like a coin.

So why then does my husband persist

in trying to pass the lumbering truck,

as if each invisible moment is a torture

from which he must immediately escape,

pulling out in suicidal hope

that nothing is coming our way?

Gibson Fay-LeBlanc is Portland’s poet laureate. This column is produced in collaboration with the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Poem copyright © 2016 Keith Dunlap. It appears in “Storyland” (Hip Pocket Press, 2016) and appears here by permission of the author.