(by Mary Czerwinski)

Brake lights on shiny black asphalt

the motion picture kind 

Slick and reflective

like the back of a lizard 

emerging from a Louisiana



India ink-soaked pavement

absorbing colors and bouncing

them back into a pool of crimson.

Signals shift,

creating a shallow pond 

of glossy emerald paint

strewn between intersections framed

by orbs of faded streetlights.

They flicker off and on,

just like the ones mom pointed to 

when she said, “be home before dark.”


Softly buzzing deathtraps for

insects seeking moonlight. 

Directionless they spiral, 

so dazzled by artifice 

they don’t realize 

the very thing that 

attracts them will

imprison them. 


Yet, we, so much more


fail to learn from their lesson 

fall prey to all 

myriad of colors

that dance in the night 

and evaporate by dawn.