Thanks to Dave and Jared’s hyper-insightful comments, I’ve got a new version of this poem continued after the jump. I don’t think it’s there yet, but the sound advice definitely helped me think about this more clearly.
Against Black Cattle, Reading the Egrets’ Chalky Script
In Oklahoma there’s plenty of room,
particularly compared to a car
loaded for a projected life, as equipped
for contingencies—spare cords and tulle–
as a Swiss Army knife.
Hurtling nearly 80 with few signs
or fellow travelers for correction–
find new stories to tell.
Trees huddling like party guests
in riddled jackets, marooned
gold-bottomed clouds, flat grass
which can’t be slipped or left behind.
The radio’s woozy but kept on
The boy at the Mexican drive-in
passes enchiladas and leaking malts
with a familiar squint.
If place could be fastened
like a nicotine patch to the heart.
If propulsion could cover
backward tracks. Still
the pollen imprint of an oak leaf
on the car’s black hood,
a sparrow’s hunch,
grease-blotched paper bag
and inside four taquitos,
curled tight as scrolls.