The only time I went over one-hundred miles an hour was in high school.
My friend John held his green truck with fists to rt 539.
That’s a road bordered by dwarfed
pine trees. In the summer, fire leaves
their bark burnt to charcoal,
and their branches become gangly
like the foot of a hairless possum.
It is part of the place, that the pine-cones only open
when they are on fire.
John’s car was a Ford, was dented,
was shuddering in a speed it couldn’t hold.
We kept an electronic song—
that played like an alarm clock
in reverse—on repeat for over an hour.
We were all asleep in the back seat,
our hair plastered to our foreheads with sweat.
539 is always crowded with bikers; more motorcyclists
than anyone could guess.
I don’t know where they go afterwards
but I think that they are trying to remember something.
Something that has to do with standing outside of the WaWa on a warm day.
The road ends near a school
that I didn’t go to,
but I did climb the water tower that hangs over it
like a mushroom cloud
There’s a picture of all four of us
leaning over the pale blue railing.
I remember the view: farmland and so many
gallons of air that I couldn’t breathe.
It was air that refused to actually react,
air that exploded through sixteen cylinder Harley-Davidsons,
dripped out of air-conditioners,
and sat in pinched cigarette filters.
It wasn’t fair.
It wasn’t fair that we could get that close
to finally flooding the town that kept
us pressurized and unseen
only to be held again
by cold rebar, or a seat belt.