On highway 10 – high risk – no space to fall
cars come so close at high speeds,
their wind moves us in the wrong direction.
On interstate 10’s entrance ramp, there’s
8 inches of clearance between the wall
and the road to Baton Rouge.
The white Dodge Dart pulls over.
An old man: ”You want a ride? get in.”
He stares ahead, a stone.
Sharp and I sit next to him in the front bench seat —
the man’s hands! Each finger tattooed
Hard Luck Lost Love –
no questions from me.
“Do you drink beer?”
hungover from New Orleans,
I babble “Uh, yes. Sometimes
I do and sometimes I don’t;
“Goddammit! I asked, do you drink beer?”
I’m yelling, Sharp’s yelling
“Yes sir. Yes, sir we drink beer.”
“Reach behind that cooler,
get us 3.
Don’t let anyone see
I got to get to Seattle –
I don’t have no driver’s license or registration.”
I reach into the styrofoam cooler
grab 3 Dixie beers.
He pulls off the side of the highway.
“I got to take me a piss.”
Tall rushes provide cover.
The old man’s got the hood of the car open,
He’s pissing into the radiator.
Driving west on route 10, we break.
I’m eating a hot roast beef sandwich, nice—
gravy and mashed potatoes.
We think we’ve made a new friend,
but, he matter-of-fact delivers his goodbye:
“I’m done with you; you’re own your own.”
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