Something in the air

by Jim Benz

Getting out of the car,
I stepped into a puddle
of discontent.

George Haglund
stood in the middle of the road
watching me
with his beady eyes
and couldn't stop talking
about the weather.

The sky, as he pointed out, had grown
intolerably blue.

Other people noticed as well.

Bob at the hardware store, for instance,
stood outside by a barrel of rakes
staring at the sun as he scratched
his bald head.

It was so strange that he forgot
what his mother had told him.

A woman coming out of the drugstore,
wild-eyed and twitchy,
hustled her kids
into a minivan with out-of-state plates
then squealed
 her tires
as she pulled from the curb.

We could hear its engine racing
into the hills
for almost twenty minutes.
Other than that,
it was just too damn


Even Old Joe
came out of the bar for a change,
which was unusual.

When he hacked and spit
it echoed off the red brick facade
of Nelson's Real Estate
like a wet pinball.

Nelson himself was at the motel
on old 66
with his mother-in-law.
She told me a few days later
over coffee:

she felt the earth move.


Author's Note: Suggestions and critiques more than welcome.

Posted on 02/28/2008
Copyright © 2023 Jim Benz

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Sigurdur Haraldsson on 03/02/08 at 09:53 PM

Wow. I felt like I stepped into a Stephen King novel. I just want to read more. The flow is excellent and you convey so much character creation in just these few lines. I love the way the something in the air can be something that just happened and people stand there wondering about it or if it is just an earth-moving experience in a motel bed that will affect everyone in this short narrative. Wish I could write like this.

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