My father’s silver Chevette pushes past refineries along the turnpike,
fields and farmland tucked back behind the Raritan River bridge.
I strain my neck to catch glimpses of skyline, growing larger
with each exit. I mouth exotic names on signs—Rahway, Weehawken.
We begin the long, slow, curving descent to the mouth of the tunnel,
an impatient caterpillar of cars with glowing red eyes, inching
towards a collective cocoon. At the entrance we pick up speed, my pulse
quickens in the half-light. Everything’s possible below the surface:
The white-tiled walls are relics from an ancient civilization.
The curve of the ceiling is the belly of a massive river-beast.
We are passing through a half-world on the way to a new planet,
the invisible NJ/NY line is a strobe-light stargate.
The road twists, slopes upward—leaning in, we slingshot forward,
there’s no turning back: the glow of the City is just around the bend.
The cocoon splits open and spits us all out: fresh butterflies, bright wings.
Drenched in golden light, the City’s an endless meadow to flit about.
We bury our faces in it, we drink its nectar.