North ForkShirley Stephenson
This is the part of Texas my father loved in the rearview, but we need halfway points. A factory's grip on marshland, hound dogs and booze bottles lapping at the shore. You showed up seven hours late because Lamesa fell between pages of a gas station atlas. I couldn't have guessed your need for detail. Mosquitoes settled like ash. You asked if I'd rather have love or desire. A few states back, you never would have separated one from the other. Now we lose entire townships in the crease of a map. Thirty-six hours and again we split at the north fork. I want to know if the kiss blown like an afterthought was yours. Sap clouds my windshield. Why not cry. Why not pitch this low-note, blues strumming soundtrack to the breeze? I fishtail over slick concrete, yet a house carries on ahead, WIDE LOAD swaying in the rain, yellow flags aflutter with warning. A family follows with pets and linens, doubtful such weight can be carried the long haul. From this flatland stretch of swamp and big sky, it's easy to see how anything lifted from its foundation will shudder, split and suffer the transport.
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