Streetlights and Mocking Birds

The streetlights are looming over top of me

Looking down and wondering what I’m doing

It’s four in the morning

I work in a few hours

And I have 45 minutes left in this drive

The streets of St. Albert are less than kind to me

The tree-lined roads through Sir Winston Churchill Road

Take me past 184 Street

And down 137 Avenue

And I drive through Edmonton’s North Side looking for the Yellowhead Freeway

The rain’s trickling along my windshield

And my wipers only leave streaks of water across

While I stare out with swollen red eyes

Trying to tell myself it’s only allergies

The wind’s picking up and wailing against my car

The glare of the road is burning my eyes

I need to keep them open though

I have a long drive ahead

And there’s nowhere to stop and sleep

The streetlights flicker with questions

And taunt me that I put some faith into

Another person when I’ve been

Burnt so many times before

And I turn hard to avoid a cat

There’s been enough blood on this car

And I don’t think I have enough room for

Another life cut-off too short

My trunk’s already full

I can feel it wearing on my shocks

The bumps feel harder and I hear you roll

And sliding against the cover of my spare tire

I find the Yellowhead and the Freeway is clear

Aside from a few overnight semis wailing their horns as they drive by

I’ve never seen this road this empty

The rain’s hitting harder

And the globs of water blur my vision

While a headlight burns out

While I try to shift lanes

I barely spot my exit across 82 Street

And clip a bird flying across the freeway

I wonder if the rain blocked his vision

Or if he had lost a headlight

And your voice carries from the trunk

Asking the same questions as the streetlights

The words flow through in unison

Like you were all given a script

You sing a chorus of confusion

Telling me you deserve something better

Than a few garbage bags

And a late night drive across the city

I try to ignore your song

Like noises of garbage in my trunk

But you only kept singing louder

Demanding an explanation

That I just simply don’t have

I don’t think you deserve anything better

Because I expect the same for myself

In the end we all wind up in garbage bags in the trunk of someone’s car

If we aren’t clipped while trying to fly across the freeway

You just wound up in my trunk

I make it down the 98 Avenue hill

And up to the James MacDonald Bridge

As the summer sun peaks out of the clouds

And the morning dew from the North Saskatchewan River

Carries up and makes me think of Spring

And the freshness of a secluded cabin

And you still ask me incessantly

Why did I bring you to the river?

The bridge is empty but in a few hours

It will be lined with cars sifting through rush hour traffic

I still don’t have an answer for you

I can’t explain any of this to you

All I know is I have three dripping garbage bags

That need to go into the river before the early risers start driving by

Even if I had an answer

It would make no difference

You’re still cold an dripping from some garbage bags

And you won’t be swimming out of this river

There’s no point in explaining anything

It won’t change a goddamn thing

And as you splash into the water

The streetlights shut off and stop talking

And I watch you flow down the current

As I spot two mocking birds on a highway sign

And they laugh at me

As if I’m standing on the bridge naked

Two mocking birds on a highway sign

Are laughing at me at four in the morning


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