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Ground Blizzard at Elk Mountain
by Art Elser

I climb over ridge after ridge as I-80 weaves
its way east from Rawlins. Eighteen-wheelers
thunder downhill through the soft-blue morning.
Ahead some clouds, then swan-colored fog,
then fingers of snow snake across the road.

The surface turns
from white lace
to black ice.
The car fishtails.

I steer between
tire tracks left
by a car
that rushed by
and road markers
with silver reflectors.

I glance from road signs
to mirror to tire tracks.
I dare not slow too much—
the thundering trucks—
nor go too fast—
stopped cars, ditches.

I grip the wheel,
hardly breathe.

Then, suddenly, a half hour through the snow,
I'm back in the soft-blue morning, pine and aspen
on the mountain, an ocean of white in my mirror.
I relax my white-knuckle hold on the wheel, breathe.

Trucks thunder past.


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