Lower valley road dream

In the valley are a dozen ferris wheels arranged in a line, each one bigger than the last. The largest is 62 miles in diameter, the smallest no larger than a foothill.

At night the wheels move in unison and fill the air with exhaust. The top wheel gathers the black asphalt at the cusp of sky and sends it toward the earth, passing it to the next wheel, and the next.

At dusk you can see cars pull over to the side of the highway above the valley to watch the night turn to asphalt. Some get out of their cars and stand by the ledge. The children stare for a moment, then chase each other and buy ice cream sandwiches. If they’re lucky they’ll see a few stars fail to escape the intake. With a haphazard and violent firework the stars will be ground into Christmas lights or an occasional chandelier, a bit of silken tinsel to take home.

You can barely see where the asphalt meets the earth and flows into the Juniata River right on through Breezewood — the turnpike mill alight in fluorescents which rotates with the earth and coaxes the tar along into 70, 76 and 30. With each mile the highways spread into their great net of black and white and gray.

By midnight there are no more cars. The air is thick with half-clouds of smoke and astral death, metallic on the tongue. This night in the valley looks fused to the forever night above it. There is no seeable edge, no foreseeable ever, no movement except the texturing of aether and cricket song, streetlights and scraps of radio. The night pours — by morning it hardens into the inescapable flatness, and the land tightens a little more.

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