Lord Crawdaddy by Brian King

Photo of man behind steering wheel
Photo by Danique Ter on Unsplash
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
letters spelling
Hard Luck Lost Love –
no questions from me.
“Do you drink beer?”
damn tired,
hungover from New Orleans,
I babble “Uh, yes. Sometimes
I do and sometimes I don’t;
it depends.”
“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.
We drink.
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.”

Brian King
Brian King earned his MFA in painting from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1984. His paintings have been exhibited in Washington D.C., Richmond, Virginia Beach and Newport News. His poetry has been published in Lingering in the Margins, a recently published anthology of Virginia poets.

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