Driving along a country road through
harvested corn and soybean fields.
The sun has freshly sunk into the horizon.
I am a bead of condensation,
rolling down a dark windowpane towards its edge
with inexorable velocity.
My high school friend Mark
used to drive us down this road at top speeds in his
hand-me-down white Chevy pickup truck —
the same one he’d use to carve donuts
in his stepdad’s farmland,
even at peak growing season.
There were — still are — three large bumps
in that road, and if Mark hit them fast enough,
the suspension would get us airborne
by the third and final bump.
I haven’t lived here in twenty years.
But this place is so changeless, so empty, so flat,
my dreams of it are now indistinguishable from memory.
Driving through it feels less like an exercise in nostalgia,
and more like the ambling disquiet of a nightmare.
This place isn’t real.
I want to drive and keep driving.
I want the oceans and mountains of where I live now.
I want towering anchors against the realized horror
that we are just barnacles
on the hide of a lumbering planet,
sailing through the waters
of the great abyss.
A poem inspired by a drive through my hometown during Thanksgiving this year. I promise, I had a much better time than this poem implies.