You start by just ignoring there’s a brake,
or anything that might intrude to take
your mind off never thinking how to make
a final, saving, unexpected snake-
like motion; but instead remain opaque
within your fierce intensity and stake
that rubber to the center line, forsake
eye contact, floor the monster – see them quake –
and watch it all become a piece of cake,
the coward’s headlights sure to bow and shake
because they realize it’s not a fake –
you’re in your zone, your mind is set, you ache
to see them crawl and beg to compromise.
And if they don’t? Well that’s the risk we take.
Michael Cantor’s full-length collection, Life in the Second Circle (Able Muse Press, 2012), was a finalist for the 2013 Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry. A chapbook, The Performer, was published in 2007; his work has appeared in The Dark Horse, Measure, Raintown Review, SCR, Chimaera, The Flea, and he has won the New England Poetry Club Gretchen Warren and Erika Mumford prizes. A native New Yorker, he has lived and worked in Japan, Latin America and Europe, and presently divides his time between hurricane-threatened Plum Island, MA, and drought-threatened Santa Fe, NM.