Somewhere down Lonely Street
past doors cursed by spray cans
X’ed shut with two by fours
he takes a turn for the worse
at Heartbreak Hotel
and heads out of town.
Rats roam the weeds of Dinosaur Land
and kernels of Burma Shave wisdom
fade past pale pyramids of withered corn
and crackled jars of homemade jam
once the color of Dorothy’s slippers.
Just a rusted rectangle
pockmarked with buckshot
“YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE.”
Fiery crashes smolder miles behind.
He grips the wheel white-knuckled
waiting for the potholes, the detours,
the thick fog silent as dead dreams
the hiss of overheated engines.
He scans soft shoulders
for exits marked on old maps
he once believed in.
He has given up hope
of finding the Grand Canyon
and would settle for a picnic table
in grassy shade.
In the rearview mirror
a few travelers have found a turnoff.
Engines cool, doors open,
they stretch arms wide to the world
and clean long journey’s rubbish
from floor and backseat
Arctic moons of cold gray burgers,
the next to last straw.
It’s getting late.
He keeps driving.
There are no U-turns
this far down the road.