Today's poem is by Lisa Fay Coutley

View from the High Road

It is as you'd expect, beyond the rusting guardrails
            tacked to gravel s-curves & switchbacks:

a maze of sandstone fins & cactus beds, tumbleweed
            clogging all the yucca shoots. There is no sky

because you're already in it, high on that high road
            where the air thins out to shallow gasps

& your mule refuses to carry anything. Your feet
            are one steep grade from gangrene, & even

though you know the scene is the stuff of a movie,
            you won't shove a mule just to watch

a prop swallow the view. If not for this road,
            nothing. Quicksand. A coffee can of pecans

you'll send back after he leaves in the night.
            Some black sky with its sharp, sharp moon,

& you with your neck stretched like shadow.
            In the distance of those fins, he is

forever bending, collecting those hard-shell nuts
            he knows you can't eat. Your throat swells

with the thought of him four states gone,
            his boots resoled & restitched. But fuck it.

So you were a stop on the way to somewhere
            else. Spring for priority shipping, jerk

the dustcover down behind you. Trot cleanly away.

Copyright © 2010 Lisa Fay Coutley All rights reserved
from Cave Wall
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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