One of those dismal, end-of-autumn nights
I came around a bend and saw her there,
standing beside the road as though my lights
had conjured her from dark, rain-ridden air.
Twenty years old at most, slender, frail,
she stood with shoulders hunched against the rain,
her black hair pulled back in a pony tail,
her face a mask of disbelief and pain.
Poor soul . . . I knew exactly who she was
and thought of stopping there to help her when
she vanished suddenly, no doubt because
she knew I doubted she had ever been
anything more than my imaginings
projected on a darkened world of things.
[BILL COYLE, a graduate of Boston College, currently teaches
English at Salem State College in Massachusetts. His poetry has appeared
in The Hudson Review, The Dark Horse, and other journals.]