The Last Pages of NDQ 89.1/2: Cameron Brooks Red Light

A few issues ago, I started a tradition of publishing on the blog the last contribution to the issue. This might be because I have a nagging fear that readers won’t turn to the final pages of the journal or that if they read NDQ cover to cover (which I heavily endorse doing at least once!). You can check out the table of contents here, if you’d like.

Cameron Brooks’s poem “Red Light” is one of those brilliant little gems that captures a common experience and gives it enduring meaning. It seems to me that poets do this better than almost anyone else and it may well be the true power of poetry is finding the enduring the ephemeral.  

As you likely know, these days are particularly challenging for many cultural institutions, publishers, and little magazines. So even if NDQ doesn’t float your boat, If you can, consider buying a book from a small presssubscribing to a literary journal, or otherwise supporting the arts. I heartily recommend grabbing a copy of the new issue of Hotel Amerika which is celebrating its 20th anniversary by publishing an anthology of some its most creative, provocative, and stimulating work. Grab a copy here.

Red Light

Stuck in traffic again
long enough to remember
that we’re hurdling
around a flaming star
at sixty-seven thousand
miles per hour in a galaxy
of one to four hundred
billion stars in a universe
of two trillion galaxies
in the mind of God.

Someone is blasting
blink-182 behind me.
And the man in the car
ahead stretches and slides
his right hand under his wife’s hair
to caress the curve of her neck.
She’s looking out the window,
watching a jogger and
a golden retriever go by.
The light turns green,
cars resume their cursing,
and I have never felt less alone.


Cameron Brooks is an M.F.A. candidate at Seattle Pacific University. He holds an M.A. from Princeton Seminary and serves as Managing Editor for, an artist collaboration website. His poems have recently appeared in Poetry EastPasque PetalsFathom Magazine, and elsewhere. Cameron lives in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. 

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