Cross-country

The western landscape lies draped upon the earth
like my grandmother's tablecloth,
yellowed with age and worn through in spots,
carelessly arranged, wrinkled and folded,
stained with layered memories;
the rivers run deep here
and the sky faded and sleepy, with scumbled clouds;
in late afternoon thunderheads drag gray ropes of rain.
The vast landscape from horizon to bent horizon
is a humbling epiphany, a dusty map of the world:
you are small, it says, but you are here.
At the highway rest stop the air is as dry and stale
as an old cigarette.
The road throbs in the heat like a dull headache,
dips down, then rises, rises,
winds upward,
lifts me with weary, doughy arms;
climbing higher into the hills I can see
how the table-top earth burdened with memory finally falls away
leaving only the shimmering sky.
I could leave the world behind,
I could be flying to you.
I'm coming home.