This morning, the rain came down thick and viscous
like whiskey sloshed from heaven. Tonight, the highway
will stagger in the dark, will swerve like the trucker
who wakes at the wheel five seconds too late
and always blame himself, even years later. But for now
the highway rises toward a distant fence of mountains.
The clouds have blown away and the land spreads before me,
enormous wings feathered with grasses that flutter and preen.
Through the afternoon glare I can barely see the mountains ahead:
staircase to a sky notched by silhouettes of telephone poles.
A river, slim and bony as a dying cowpoke, toils at its work,
patiently carries its burden to the sea, and I drive on,
step on the accelerator: the land soars and turns like a raptor.
I must be anxious to meet whatever appointment for me
God has scribbled with blurred handwriting.
I drive for miles and stop at the first store I find:
a handwritten signóLAST GAS FIFTY MILESó,
dust on soda cans. I call you from the pay phone
out front, to tell you I am glad I made this detour,
that no matter what happens on the highway,
just to be driving towards you is enough.