Sunday, December 28, 2003

I'm Not From Around Here
by Emily Hanlon

The dashboard is my bookshelf,
steering wheel doubles as a coffee table;
in the back is my bedroom,
I sleep heavily right behind the
benchseat of a closet every night.
My seat is worn, comfortable in
my one-roomed home I can see
both sunrise and sunset,
no matter where I am.

Marshy Florida highway
is so boring: kudzu raising
monsters out of technology's children yet
my eyes focus on
spiny fronds of the palmetto
protecting the wet ground from
too much sun.

Slow, crawling, Atlanta traffic
smells like death.
So the billboards and
my automobiled neighbors evolve into
my entertainment: I laugh
at the bald guy in the gaudy Porsche.

Narrow North Carolina mountain paths
make me thankful when my tires
hold the precarious road and my bus
doesn't go crazy
tumbling down
the steep slope.

Lush Canadian wilderness and
I stare past the shoulder of the road,
my bus must drive itself
and I know she wishes
she, too, could let herself linger
upon the pines and quiet green.

Endless cornfields of Iowa's
life-blood ambush us.
I cruise too fast but my bus,
I think, loves it.
Every three foot hill is a thrill
on a perfect grid of shining pavement.

Barren Texas interstate
and I listen to Paul Simon
Graceland blaring on the radio.
Her wheels spin soundlessly,
counting the flat, stiff armadillo
while the miles fall away.

Inside my cocoon
the wind blows hot, loud, and
wild around my head. My hair whips
my face and attempts
escape out the open window.
a conversation drifts by and I,
with one naked foot up on the dashboard,
am at home,

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