This morning, the rain came down thick and viscous
like whiskey sloshed from heaven. Tonight, the highway
will stagger in the dark, will swerve like the trucker
who wakes at the wheel five seconds too late
and always blames himself, even years later. But now
the highway rises toward a distant fence of mountains.
The clouds have blown away and the land spreads
enormous wings feathered with grasses that flutter and preen.
Through the afternoon glare I can barely see the mountains ahead:
staircase to a sky notched by silhouettes of telephone poles.
A river, slim and bony as a dying cowpoke, toils at its work,
patiently carries its burden to the sea, and I drive on,
step on the accelerator: the land soars and turns like a raptor.
At the next store I find a handwritten sign “LAST GAS
FIFTY MILES” and I call you from the pay phone out front,
tell you I am glad I made this detour,
that to be driving towards you is enough.
Calvin W. Johnson