HIGHWAY TO THE COAST
Thick and green, the hills rise
on each other’s shoulders.
High ridges disappear in fog
make me wish I was born of water.
At the divide, I taste the cool ocean air,
the way a deer finds a salt lick,
and roller-coaster down a narrow road
that does not believe in a straight line.
crawl through barbed wire fences.
Small towns occur like a whim.
As if in a coma, they merely survive.
I tune in the only station
and listen to country-western.
Static gradually drowns the singer out.
Rounding a corner, he pops to the surface
for another breath,
simply to sink back still singing.
Fir shadows lace the road.
Bracken cascades embankments.
At the next curve, a farmhouse is half finished--
boards weathered raw. Chickens roost in a gutted Chevy.
Scattered among these hills, families
rely on small private lumber mills,
the disability or unemployment check,
the killing of an out of season elk.
-- from Catching the Limit Fairweather Books (2009).
"Highway to the Coast" was first published in Caffeine Destiny
and later appeared by Deer Drink the Moon by Ooligan Press -
Portland State University Press, davejarecki.com, and yourdailypoem.com.