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  • I dream a highway back to you.
    --Gillian Welch


    i.

    sometimes when we were driving
    on those back country roads
    on those dirt red roads
    through fields of tobacco
    the radio. twangs.
    A guitar. Croons.
    Johnny Cash. EmmyLou Harris.
    The crepuscular sky
    indigo shadows. Trees
    lose shape. Ink stains.
    Night blots the landscape.
    Magnolias. Wisterias.
    Perfume. The air.
    Ripens. You hum.
    The engine rumbles.
    Virginia is for lovers.


    ii.

    Don’t stop. Keep going.
    Along the highway. Bypass.
    Gas stations. Car lots.
    Beyond here. Mountains.
    Blue. Forest. Green.
    Let’s Drive. Just you.
    Me. Go West.
    Through heaps of
    corn. Desert. Scarlet.
    The Mississippi. The Rockies.
    Let’s slink into some Motel
    Some town. Full of
    tumbleweed. We’ll
    sleep. Curl. Sideways.
    Like bandits. We’ll
    smuggle kisses. Caresses.
    Bumping on some saggy
    mattress. Exhaling. The
    sky . Never seems so close.
    Inhaling. Your scent.
    Speeding. Rushing.
    The velocity of desire.
    Crashing into bliss.
    We shudder. Unanimously.


    iii.

    That day when you drove me to the beach, to tell me, something I already knew, that day with the hermit crabs scrawled along the strand, that day, when the heavens were painted peacock blue, that day when the surf sighed like sirens of sorrow, that day, sitting on that damp log, with the teething wind, a shiver, that day, with the ominous silence, in the car, that day seemed so momentous, at twenty, but now receding, at forty, like that faded photograph, of you and me, sprawled on your bed, beneath the poster of Marlon Brando, smirking, salaciously, I sometimes, wonder, where you are, did you succeed in your dream of Broadway, or have you, like most of us, become puny, pint-sized, reduced by life, disappointments, and all that litter, that hides behind the horizon, I hope not, for I want to remember you, like that day, when we drove to the coast, that copper light, the halo, surrounding your auburn hair, how it burned, crimson, glowing--as if you were on fire.
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