The Road

Have you ever witnessed a birth? Seen the wet, living mass, pop, screaming into this world? This is it, right now. I'm here, not arriving in a slimey mess between a women's raised legs, but popping from a mind (of sorts) and slipping down into this bucket seated rumble (red on sleak steel).

Why am I here? If we'd ever really know.

The long highway's speed pulls me. I'm not driving this car. I hold the wheel and feel pulled along, as if the towboat is trying to spill me in it's wake.

But I'm hot, dry and thirsty. Only miles of sand banks this black ribbon river. Thick, sticky strings of spit glue the back of my throat. Tonque of dusty peanut butter and grit chokes this mouth of dunes and sandy teeth.

Hah! Billboard's pretty bikini girls smiling white clean teeth "REFRESH". Ahead, I squint.


I search asphalt river banks for a gas pumping shack oasis. Smaller flat bikini girl smile entices me on.


Tall "GAS/FOOD" stare me down as I approach. Rust and dust welds on pylons wait for one last big blow to be set free. "SODA" machine and decaying paint greet me as whorls of grit settle on my breaking time machine (it brought me from then to now). "OPEN" hangs in a skull eye window. This building's bones are old.

Doorway's black gap swallows me. Dusty hot dark fills my lungs. I wheeze, choke, spit the first water to touch that floor in thirty years.

I blink shadows into forms of furniture. Broken, bent into angles of disuse, waiting for some too tired to care fool who must sit at whatever cost.


Behind the counter stands a young woman of boney angles covered with skin of runny sores, pustules, and crusty scabs.

Testing, more testing on this world. The desert's new suns must be flowering every few weeks here.

"Gas," I ask?

She scratches her scalp, looks in dazed amazement at the last clumps matted hair sticking to here fingers. The tears on her cheeks are not covered by the cracked smile on her dead lips as she points to the door.

"Just take it," she says.

Out the door, fill up, drive away, speed's anesthesia quickly pumps into my blood.

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