Good Friday, Driving West Tennessee
The road here gives way 
to river, rail and ridge,
obeying the vagaries
of creek and clay hill,
coiling close like
a long familiar lover
in the dead of winter,
passing through pineforests
frozen in the act
of regeneration.
The towns are occasional,
and of a proper size,
that even reduced speed
does not falsely magnify:
baitshop, bbq, gas,
hardware, feedstore-
and to satisfy the urge
to congregate: 
the chapel and dance hall.
And you are tempted 
to think that here 
are the last good people 
left on earth,
but the road passes on
before the thought sticks,
passing other roads
that turn quickly out of sight
like questions that are asked
but never answered.
After Reelfoot Lake
the road climbs a ridge
like a snake easing up a rock;
there are no cars to speak of
and the pavement gently sways
beneath the vehicle-
the road invites 
this kind of recklessness
as you can feel infinity
just around the next bend
and come at last to know
that you will never die.				



copyright 2001 Phoebe Claire Publishing, LLC  All rights reserved