M.A. Schaffner

Sounds Like Smog

Out on the highway the dragons will wait

patiently to be weighed, scales upon scales,

smoke puffing gently from their intake pipes

with that curious scent of tobacco

and gastric juices. We flit past in awe

of their iridescent sheen, their answers

to the questions of the stray State Trooper,

the huge potential of folded talons

a curving meter long. When bat wings twitch,

buzzards struggle to regain their balance

and the paper debris of fast food joints

left from truckers’ lunches takes flight again,

riding the air stream of the Interstate

to the next scenic overlook. In time

the dragons will get there, too, each taking

the spaces of three or four tour buses

but no one will complain, though we all hate

those moments stuck behind them in traffic.

You sit there, blind and gagging on the smell,

but too impressed to really mind them, just

how did they get here, where do they go, and

how many miles a maiden can they get?