Originally written in 2003
A traffic light late at night,
red, seems so pale and dim;
it fades into the darkness.
What might seem an angry admonition,
â€œSTOP!â€ loses its exclamation,
an empty sputtering.
Stop or ignore, it doesnâ€™t matter;
thereâ€™s no traffic anyway.
Its power is subsumed,
swallowed in the night.
green is redâ€™s converse in every way.
â€œGo, go,â€ it breathes softly,
bathing the car in its seductive glow.
It beckons sotto voce:
forward, accelerate, seek no counsel.
It promises safe passage
without ever quite saying the words,
and if the car wrecks,
well, no one can say the light lied.
A promise written in photons
canâ€™t be counted on.