Tablelands Sonnet – by Kevin Casey

This high desert road is a record groove
unwound from its spindle, unraveling
across red tablelands. Flame-colored buttes
stand as quenched sentinels, shadows that notch
the horizon in this moonless night.
The minivan that navigates the darkness
in front of me has dragged its tailpipe
along the highway since Sedona–
a needle shooting sparks along black vinyl.
Too far ahead to read its license plate,
to discern if it’s gray or navy blue,
or to hear the scrape of steel on asphalt,
that fitful flash is the music I’ll follow
for hours heading north toward midnight.

Kevin Casey is the author of Ways to Make a Halo (Aldrich Press, 2018) and American Lotus, winner of the 2017 Kithara Prize (Glass Lyre Press, 2018). And Waking… was published by Bottom Dog Press in 2016. His poems have appeared recently or are forthcoming in Rust+Moth, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Connotation Press, Pretty Owl Poetry, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column ‘American Life in Poetry.’ For more, visit

Photographer’s Note: This is another poem with vivid imagery. Due to location constraints, I was unable to capture exactly what I visualize when I read this piece. Even so, I feel this pairing embodies the overall mood created by the poem.