nthposition online magazine

Driving drunk & Quemado


[ poetry - october 10 ]

Driving drunk

    Some fields not yet plowed
flicker past. In graying stalks
of stubborn corn, one blurred row
swallows the last. If you look far
down each lane, far as the absence
of traffic allows, you may find yourself
leaning in the dark, one hand shoved
between rusty bars, offering straw
to a reluctant horse.
    Should you choose to hang back -
fenced off like an earthless star -
while the others re-enter an arc
of prayerful guitar and bonfire,
you could lie down with leaves, snubbed
by inward glowing windows, spinning
toward the chore ahead the way
a child lost in a campground
pedals in circles, crying like a duck.
    How he rides beside you
past green and red can lights,
Big Wheel slipping on gravel,
looking for what he cannot say.
When he feels it close, he runs.
However long you fishtail between
two cornfields - swaths of tar
and thumping heart, a friend's voice
driven by fear commands: wake.
    Around this time next year,
two ponies and a stray mare
will show up in the cold light
of your front porch. Their huge teeth
gently cropping carrots. Hooves
spilling a silver bowl of water.
Inside, your friends will keep drinking
red wine as if nothing anywhere
has ever surprised them.



Someone traveling through would want a picture,
which would mean parking, walking behind a gas station,
then crouching to fix, in a digital view finder, clouds
following clouds in the White Mountains.

Edge of a vacant lot, the car left running,
thunder stirs in broad hills like an infant
in the next room. Spray Roundup on Bush
is painted on a rotten fence. In the gas station,

someone pouring a cup of burnt coffee listens
for a word they know, naranjas or verde,
a momentum like hatred, a glint in the eyes
for the clerk to remember. Instead, a purchased apple

or nothing. A small highway
climbing out of a village, a light rain.