Ghost Writer’s Apprentice
He’s assigned the most invisible
jobs: Ramp Closed or Milwaukee
Right Lane. It takes its toll
after the one hundredth mile marker,
and he starts to speculate about
the blur of passengers and mufflers
and songs he can’t hear
through closed windows. Alive,
he never gave them a thought.
Never wondered who wrote Rest Area
or the numbers and names
of exits on highway tickets he handed
to booth operators, then sped off.
He would have said bureaucrats
if pressed, but no one asked.
Sometimes he conjures the small print
on leases, death certificates, estate
sales. Before he can inhabit
the spaces of others, he must
experience humility, an absence
of ego. Yield. And he has begun to —
a white line down a divided highway.
Not solid, but broken. Passing
into anonymity, and back.
—Marilyn Annucci, Madison, WI