John Grey


Mile after mile and then another mile,
not linear, but piled atop each other,
distance heavy, stifling, many men
cramped in the back of a truck
breathe the bump of wheels,
the muggy air of gasoline.
Here, between past and future,
a ragtag vehicle rattles
across a border's backwater,
along a dirt track,
through flameless July fire.
Barely a sound from within.
Every stop could be the patrol,
each sudden burst of speed,
a fruitless getaway.
Deep in the dark,
wills saturate, wilt,
lungs gasp as even oxygen
is poverty now.

Five hundred miles
of Texas plains,
cattle graze
like wind on faces,
oil derricks lance
the sky, that blue pin cushion
of space and heat and wealth.

A straight, flat highway
fuses distance to the sameness,
Air recoils before
unwitting speed,
the diesel cough of passing trucks.

But drenching sunset
claims the frame for beauty
Cars don head-lamp camouflage.
Oncoming dark
makes fireflies of us all.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in Schuylkill Valley Journal, CapeRock and Columbia Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Poem and Spoon River Poetry Review.  

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