CRUISING THE RESTSTOP ON ROUTE 9
From where you stand you can feel
the back road empty into the county,
an endless need. Moths flicker
at the bulb’s lit nerve, coupling
and uncoupling over greasy linoleum.
You lean against the sink, its faucet
dripping, trying to form a word, night
stalled between hand and zipper.
You know a man on his knees
can read the scored tile, torque of
his mouth filled with night and the marsh
fields’ dampness. Anything can happen
when the urinal flushes, but tonight
the trucker won’t look up. That’s how
it is sometimes, paper towels clogging
the drainpipe, water blackened with rust.
Outside, cars deliver strangers
past orchards where raccoons poach
rotting plums from low cracked limbs,
all that sweet flesh waking in the dark.
—from Rattle #36, Winter 2011