(after Rodney Jones)
Leslie Marie Aguilar
Together, we drive south down US 277,
listening to a song by Iron & Wine.
We share a slow way of listening to folk music,
as you drive your Jeep Grand Cherokee towards
Dead Man’s Curve. I hear the whining guitar,
with its useless longing, then the bearded man singing,
& imagine what could have happened: picnics in cotton
fields, bridges built above dry creek beds, & the wild hog
that ran off with Beauregard the bloodhound.
A patchy fog bursts across the cracked windshield,
& I gasp for breath back as your cigarette embers
glitter down black asphalt & highlight things going by:
Coronado’s Camp, two blinking caution lights;
two accidents in December, trips off the nearby bluff;
too many close calls. Our ghosts will say
we gave the world what we saw fit.
Stubborn boy with big green eyes, you see valleys
in the small of my back that arches toward the moon
as I undress beside the ashes of all the animals you buried
on the hill: Zeek the Ferret, Leonardo the Turtle, & Lizzie
the Lizard that lived in the crossties behind your house.
We are more a pair of railroad tracks in sunflower fields
than the pecan tree wound around in baling wire.
We are supposed to be somewhere, anywhere else,
but the fallen house across the way keeps both of us
in its blue jean pocket like the gold coins you stole
when you were just a boy. My attention glides
from one lane to the next, & I am not myself
without the low hum of your mustached voice.
So as we pass Dead Man’s Curve, on our way home,
I play the song again, two times, & then again.
We are a lucky pair, in the dark Texas country,
singing along, taking a trip off the bluff just for fun.
Leslie Marie Aguilar was born and raised in Abilene, Texas. She has served as the Poetry Editor of Harbinger Journal of Literature and Art and is the current Web Editor of Indiana Review. She is also the recipient of a National Society of Arts and Letters Literature Award. Her poems have appeared in Rattle, San Pedro River Review, Spillway, and The Más Tequila Review among others. She is currently an MFA candidate at Indiana University.