Time's the old illusion of a road
Until you kiss the asphalt: then it's real.
You must have seen it coming, heard the squeal
Of your bewildered tires, when you toed
The brake as if discovering it, and flew
Forward and back simultaneously,
Experiencing for once the quality
Of stillness, which is violent when it's true.
Now, crouching in a ditch between two fields,
The past and future—both and neither present—
You wait. An ambulance expands, insistent
(The siren sings your very name), and yields.
Next thing you know, you're on your way again,
Or someone's way. You thank the anesthetics,
Your friends, who, it turns out, are paramedics,
And God, who lets you keep your life. That's when
You notice—but it could be the contusion—
The fields, both past and future, disappear,
The yellow house, the drifting sky, the deer,
And the road, of which Time is the old illusion.
Nolta holds degrees from The University of Michigan, The University of Chicago,
and Yale University. His first novel, an academic mystery entitled Grave
Circle, was published in 2003, and his second, Lostlindens,
appeared in 2005. Recent poems have appeared in Christianity and
Literature, Subtropics, Assisi, and Rattle.
He teaches Art History at Massachusetts College of Art and Design.