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The Road Trip

The dusk that she noticed at 6
had been with her
all day.
She was falling down the map
from Oregon
through the San Joaquin Valley
and the sky was low
and thick.
She was going
from raptors
to crows.
She could just see into
the plantings,
the fields at each side;
the endless geometry
of the fruit basket
of the west.
You could angle into them
by grid paths,
ahead, beside
or back
if you could cross the treachery
of cassette tape
and glass
glittering its wail of discard.

She slowed forward.
there were tracks.
She thought she was free of trains.

She handed her map
to the signalman.
Is it coming this way?
Depends, he said,
on whether you intend to turn.
Bastard, she thought
and stalled.

The counter-epiphanous fog.

Shallowed by air like mohair
she put it in Park,
the inhibited sleep
of the god of the median.


  Kathryn Rantala


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