December thirteenth. North Carolina. I hear a tree frog click. Fire crack.
The same dog over and over. A layered silhouette of trees against tees
misled me into thinking I can glimpse the shape of the gully in front of me.
Hard wooded. Known to house turkeys. One fat cornfed squirrel.
I blame the calendar for most problems.
They make it too easy to wait.
The calendar always made me late.
Mark one a holy day.
People sacrifice hundreds of others preparing for it.
Marking them off as they get in their way.
With seasons, on the other hand, we are ahead of the game.
Like tonight. It isn’t even winter yet. And already, it’s spring.
Driving all over the state in a jeep that should have never left the farm.
Visiting other states like they were neighbors just up the street.
Jumbled cities and towns connected by the elastic-bound coils of highways.
Lost thoughts to tiresome engines and air screaming high through undercarriage.
Virginia for the night. Tennessee on the way to getting there.
Southern carolinas for the cheaper gas and fat.
Let both time and the pedal be pressed. But not yourself.
Miles thump and roll below mountains conjured up from flat pastures
into green peaks that push white clouds, grazed by cows,
dotted by a house caught in a dark gray asphalt web.
Downtowns resurrected and loved and so much neglected.
Framed eyes above walking feet must see this old jeep,
this young me, staring, steering, praying feet down on pedals.
Fearing the day he does and nothing happens.
Feeling each hesitation in acceleration like the apathetic reality of God.
The great absent good.
Where a man or woman puts his or herself, there also is their faith.
Like abandonment, betrayal. Like that vehicle
would carry me a lifetime away from home
and just quit, give up hope, leave me there.
Jeep better left on the farm.
God like a towering mountain.
When you are happy where you are,
a daunting level of faith is required
to go just about anywhere.