Seney Stretch

I’ll meet you
in Shingleton,
little claptrap town,
to walk
the Seney stretch,

the longest stretch
of arrow straight asphalt
on this side
of the Mississippi.

We’ll hold hands
and memorize the order
of the frozen creeks
that we pass by,

imagine in which shallow stream
Hemingway once cast his reel,

icy dirt and snow piled high
like foam on root beer floats
along the highway’s border.

And in the sheen of sheets of ice
that cover concrete shoulders,
our feet will slap thin ragged cracks
that run like rivers to the ditch,
trace them with our toes and laugh:
any way but straight.

Our breath like clouds of diesel
floating cold and clear into the night
together as we chant them, singsong–
       Hickey, Star, Commencement Creek–

the gentle burst of air
when headlights cut the dark
won’t startle us,
as we can see ahead
for miles–and if we chance
a glance behind us, well,
we’ll see what’s
left behind
us, too.

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