The Only Way


Listen to poem audio here.

I got here by red car

via Ogallala, Echo, and Blythe, a sibyl of roadsigns
counseling against stray men in striped suits near
facilities hemmed in barbed wire

by reading solace in contiguous lines,
remedy in border

by wading states cropped in corn
breast-high, mouth-high, eye-high
though the plains flatly refused to reach up

by listening to radio preachers’ static on redemption
while motel King James, spine frayed, flyleaf shorn,
advised Turn Back, Forswear, Turn Back

(but tell me—how could I do that?)

by manifest ambition, regret
cudgeled from decision

by Routes 8 and 10 highlighted yellow
(this the fastest, the safest) yoking Mid- to West,
a jagged slash resolved to scar—is leaving

ever seamless? I got here by red car.