local_library Interstate

by Shann Palmer

Published in Issue No. 42 ~ November, 2000

Cars must be driven, controlled
destination not essential to the journey,
sometimes the traveling is the trip.
Hands on the wheel, heart on sleeve,
Burt Bacharach plays, Elvis sings,
piano predictable as road lines.
Even the love songs are bittersweet,
throat-choked resurfaced dreams. Detained
over the next hill, under the pass
a motorcyclist waits out the hard rain,
helmet off, smoking like James Dean.
Catch his eye when you go by. Wink.
Did you think you’d get any more than that?
It’s a road sign, God had nothing to do
with it. A highway worker in Danville
is arrested for exposing himself to motorists
at a detour. It wasn’t intentional, he was stoned,
holding, no one noticed but the cop.
Duct tape highway holds down the scenery,
you’re the cockroach crawling up the wall,
pace car in a cross country competition.
When you get there you’ll know
or maybe you’ll just weary of driving.
Did the nomads find seed and settle?
Think in terms of corridors and strip malls,
how many times you pretend you don’t see.
In old movies the car stood still, the earth moved.

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Shann Palmer is a teacher, writer, and musician living in Richmond, Virginia. She edits La Petite Zine at Webdelsol, and has fiction and poetry online at Eclectica, Conspire, Melic Review, RealPoetik among others.