Laid out on the lines that make up the open 24-hour signs,
highway gas stops becomes static.
Wood boards become choirs of hissing arthritic joints
and a man surrounded by tobacco and lottery tickets
makes eyes at strangers stranger than him.
A faithful formation of laden shelves trap dust beneath them
holding processed foods at eye level for you,
and a woman with no lips, just jaundiced teeth,
walks bags in hands and head down.
Her hair hangs to the small of her back
corduroy and glasses cover her frame.
Ribbed edges purse her face
wrinkles accompaning eyes that are sure.
She’s too beautiful to remember me I think,
but I’ll always have the woman with no lips,
clutching cold plastic with chapped white knuckles,
wishing the world by,
watching a younger woman on the street,
with red ivories from wet red lips,
a real lioness of the American midwest.
She’s got six kids,
one in her teeth,
trying to prove she loves them
by making them hold hands when they cross the street.
And they pass a man who can’t even see anything real past his own nose,
cause he’s swaying like leaves,
cool-eyed, blasted on some kind of downer
fingering for nicotine.
Stairs look like mountains to move for him.
His cool eyes shut to heave in and out,
sanctimonious like witchcraft.
He would tear through the woods like a demon
and look over the hill ahead letting the leaves control his breathing
if he could just get clean.
Turning his kicking carcass into his very own opium den,
popping pills that will take him to happier places.
Looking at all those alfalfa desperadoes becoming the dirt they till.
Making garments from squirrels,
and migrating grocery bags.
Wishing he could be something
other than someone comfortable in the swaddling arms of his heroine.
Wanting ease of sleep.
Wanting the threat of certainty.
Wanting to be beneath the street and above something else he can’t quite finger. Sometimes this makes him happy,
but all those moments wick off his skin leaving gooseflesh
for him and whoever finds his body.