3.22.03 and back ups 848

Twenty miles from nowhere
On a desert autumn road
It caught my eye
Drove another mile
And turned around
To look again
And wonder


Mile Marker 20

Vieja rattles truck
Worn loose and wrinkled
Pickup and woman
Two alike
Too alike.

Youngest son of 20
Sullen, pockmarked
Central Avenue of Duke
Comes around to steal her change
And vanish.

Middle daughter
Just 20 miles away
Her man hates
No calls, no visits
No joy smile of grandson

Man dead
These 20 years
Whiskey mind rocketed
Car rocketed
Life rocketed
Into concrete
Just over there.

Oldest son locked away
Seven years of twenty
In Las Lunas
Today she visits
Carton of smokes
And twenty bucks
Saved hard
To ease his gone.

Flash inside her head
Inside the years
Inside the cab
Wheel wrenched right
Fingers locked white
Stalks circles
Three times around the truck
Eyes down
Sees nothing

Tin, tape, a marking pen
A steel post cry
To everything that wasn’t.


From Poems of the New Old West

Copyright 2002, Jack Purcell

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