Katy Ellis

All Signs Are Dares

Why we decided no headlights
through Snoqualmie Valley dark

 early March after the hospital
visit to my open-heart grandfather

 I will not understand, yet
we drove into that unspoken dare

 a good thirty seconds
until we couldn’t take not seeing

 illuminated roadside grasses
parallel the parallel yellow lines.

 Our eyes like kaleidoscopes twisted
sparse moonlight off sparse road signs.

Still unknown to each other, years later
we’ll leave this country together

 for lands where we become
the only people we know

 after towers and grandfathers fall
historical clues and species erased.

 We still won’t ask what it meant
when the headlights clicked back on —

 no flinch reaction swerve or brakes
could’ve helped avoid our collision

 with the shepherd dog running happy blind
across the valley road for home.