Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsFall 2017  Vol. 16 No. 2
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Sunday Drive

There was a bright blue light aglow inside the open door
of the cinder block bar called Mike’s just off the road
to the right about halfway between Lynchburg and Big Island.
Too early for a tavern to be open, but there it was—the light
above the door like a beacon calling me into the darkness
to drink like never before. The smell of petrichor on the cracked
macadam sweetened the air as I drove with the windows down
into the mountain that was partially shrouded by a sudden veil
of Blue Ridge fog. It was a Sunday morning in late September
and the churches were filled like hives in every town along
the way. I sat behind the altar of my wheel, keeping to my lane
on 501, singing along to Shania Twain, Emmylou, and Patsy
Cline. A crow stood on the yellow line of the dangerous curve
in Coleman Falls eating a possum that lay in a heap of tangled
entrails like a bas-relief of feelings—“They’re mine,” I said
to the bird as I drove on by then watched him flap away
like the God of Shadows. I prayed for the possum who’d played
so dead before he died a pack of coyotes let him be.
I prayed for its soul when I saw a cloud in the shape of it
beginning to crawl on the floor of sky into nothing at all.

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