I stopped for groceries after work.
Jeff will be late again tonight.
“Don’t wait up,” he always says.

I hate these country roads at night –
twisting, full of ruts. I woke
this morning choking back a scream,
but the dream escaped
with the trembling.

I round a bend, see movement
in the willows.  Slow, I tell myself.
It’s probably nothing.

– Sarah Russell
First published in Black Poppy Review
For Real Toads prompt “chaos theory
Also for Poetry Pantry
Photo: Shutterstock


54 thoughts on “Augury

    1. Thanks so much, Rajani. I usually end up with only about a quarter of what I originally write. I just keep whittling and whittling. Sometimes I lose stuff though that I should keep and can’t think how it went in the poem. I save the first draft but not the subsequent ones. I should train myself to save all the drafts, but I’m too impatient.


      1. Wow! Writing without a net. You’re living dangerously. The last time I did that and immediately started paring down (always a mistake to do it right after the first draft) I ended up with about 6 words and had no idea how I got there. Absolute jibberish! sigh. It really seems to work for you though!


  1. I love the way you have captured several moments in time in one small poem that is pregnant with meaning, Sarah. I empathise with you about the country roads at night and waking up with a choked back scream – and escaping dreams.Willows!


    1. Ooooo Brendan, you’re on a ghostly roll this week. Hope you’re going to submit Quantam Field Theory for publication. I know a couple of places that love that kind of work. Let me know if you want names. You may have a venue in mind already for it.


      1. Thanks Sarah, bad habit, haven’t tried to get anything published for 20 years. I get all I need from my little circle of peers. I’m trying to put a manuscript together combining two veins of work this year.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have read your words several times too Sarah and wonderful they are.
    The dream escaping at the trembling – brilliantly described.
    Anna :o]


  3. Once upon a time I drove fearlessly at night. No more. Caution comes with the wisdom of the years. We live a stone’s throw from a huge park populated with many deer who venture out from time to time, often with unfortunate result. Your poem eloquently describes the tension of night-driving near willows!


    1. We lived in the Colorado mountains for several years. Always white-knuckle driving at night. One night there was a moose in the driveway munching on the willows. They’re really, really big!


    1. Thanks, Annell. Kind of mundane action — stopping to get groceries — but relatable for all of us, I guess. That gives me an idea. What if she’d stopped at a bar instead?! Whole different poem. 🙂


  4. How many times has “probably nothing” turned out to be something, something dreadful and dangerous?


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