Night flight

Head near an open window feet pointed roomward I lie awake

listening to a late-night lullaby

of train hoots and rushing rubber,

noise during the day.

With care each note is separated

and attached to a picture

of some tired driver

red-eyed but resolved

to remain awake.

One arm hangs over the seat back

like a strand of ivy

while the other limbs

are locked lightly

at a precise angle and pressure

to give the beast beneath

the minimum assurance

that someone is in control;

assured, it hums the highway faithfully.

How gladly we would change places

the driver and I -

he yearns for a yielding pillow,

heavy blankets, and stiff, starch-scented sheets.

I yearn for his journey

probing new roads at night

with empty eyes

and antennae of light.

And then the tunnel's end

at that just so moment

when I realize with a snap

it's not lamplight revealing the sign

that names the town: Centerville.

From my bed I throw a slide show

on the wall beyond my feet

there are Chestnut, Vine,

Maple and Main streets,

a Woolworth's in red

and Dunn's hardware in faded sky,

a nameless barbershop

done in red plastic and old magazines,

Pix Bargain Shoes

done in polyester clerks,

Bradley's Budget Furniture

for brides buying bedrooms

of Basset and Broyhill.

And then peeling paint houses

with big trees and hard yards

all kid worn and season tired.

And finally

Rosy's refuge from road and rig,

''two sunny up, pancakes and sausage.''

All that is so far from where I lie -

a tuning fork

twitching to each car's call,

so far yet so near.

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