Brake Lights by Mike Ferguson


Driving into town today I saw three cars that were each missing a working brake light—a bulb burnt out that needed replacement—and though I didn’t have the opportunity or inclination to tell any of them about the loss which I could see but they could not, I did become concerned how there might be other disappearances: easily a detail from their car’s interior like a gone knob here or a gone switch there, then maybe an item much larger so the entire back seat—assuming the drivers noticed if it were the one they had actually been sitting on—or at worst a passenger who had started the journey but was now missing too, vanished into the secret letter between points A and B? If either is an epiphany arising as the natural end of our indifference and uncaring, I’d have to admit I should have made more effort over those broken lights and driven us away from the edge of a likely catastrophe.

Mike Ferguson’s most recent collection of poetry is Precarious Real [Maquette Press. 2016]. A retired English teacher, he taught creative writing to students for 30 years and co-authored the education text Writing Workshops [Cambridge University Press, 2015].