A hog-nosed snake suns by the screen door.
We leave Fort Morgan dressed like a heat wave.
She didn’t shave, the blonde
of her legs dance tan in the open
I drive out of Nebraska with our past behind.
We carry a Rand McNally, four
ham-and-cheese, a thermos of lemonade
and one suitcase each.
The South Platte River is a memory.
Tall Corn Grows Goats
We roll downstream behind a John Deere
near the county line, through the fairgrounds gate,
a whiff of shit,
a festival to goats.
A halt for the parade to pass,
a caravan of one-horned billies tethered in single file
follow a flatbed Ford hauling a country band.
The pedal steel player nods as our eyes match.
He wears a unicorn mask.
An unseen fiddler bows “Hangman’s Reel.”
An unseen siren wails, nannies and kids squall,
local Lutheran auxiliary cooks bleat and run.
A funnel cloud trails us across Iowa.
The Great Drain
We cross the river at Hannibal.
She drives, I study the muddy shore of Illinois to Cairo.
Today fades like a drunk recollection.
Do you remember calendars?
The map is uncertain of the island where Huck and Jim hid out.
Was it the place I saw the lowland fog blink?
Acres of fireflies float knee-deep over dewy pastures,
mushrooms feast on poop.
Big Saint Louie is Burning Down.
The Missouri drains to this crack in Jefferson’s tectonic saucer.
The mouth of Ohio greets Mississippi with a cheer.
The lady tilts her mirror, tints her lips
as she turns the wheel into Kentucky.
We’ve descended more than four-thousand feet
from Colorado to Reelfoot.
We shoot leftward under the Perseids rush hour,
while flotsam flushes to the Gulf.
She taps the wheel with a single scarlet nail, then coos,
Sail Away, Ladies, Sail Away.
Midnight on the Road of River and Loss
Suddenly, years vanished, sea level greets us.
Live oaks hear the tide’s groan.
Port cargo screams, metaphors moan.
before Bastille Day, drunk on rye whiskey,
this, before Girl Scouts, Haitian heroes,
before the Canadians depart the architecture of moss.
Declare all your similes as you pass through customs.
I see a boy balance on curbstones in the square,
unaware, the clumsy truck.
The driver listens to “Moon River.”
Refugees smoke hedge funds.
When the ice pack melts, when the Gulf swells, will Memphis lose altitude?