poetry can kill you

as i drove out route 52
the last day of august
my lips thanked the sun
for hanging warm
in the topaz sky

a sea of green valleys
and farms
barns with painted patchwork
quilt piece emblems
hexagram talismans
protecting the herds
and crops

driving roads no GPS would ever find
this one is for locals
i remember where i am
in this unknown
paint lick world
from my
trips with granddaddy
in his fedora
five year old me
him driving miss alicia
smoking winstons
listening to paul harvey

i am remembering that
he still had a full head of red hair
when he died

as it appeared to me
i came back to real time

a glint of white
flash of yellow
in the middle of
a peripheral
long since it’s been plowed field
the old farmhouse
rotten and tipped over

on my right
a mirage
so out of place
with no road
leading to it
i see the possibility of an adventure
not to be resisted

i pull my cooperative
car off the road
at the field’s edge

the thing is just far enough away
to not want to walk that distance

i had chosen good boots
and sturdy jeans
mind made up
it’s worth the hike

besides, when i was a little
country girl
before microbiology classes
and a fear of snakes
my feet could have negotiated this
without shoes

the red clay is soft beneath
giving grasses
saturated from a rainy summer
my footprints gather mud

i put on the work gloves
brought from my trunk
as the thicket is becoming

i approach the riddle
my logic deciphers shape
covered by decades
of vine who have
matriculated to stone

i say aloud
holy hell
it’s a giant truck

a road was never here
this half rusted mausoleum
on wheels
hidden all but by
an area of gossamer
where yellow, white, and blue paint
were exposed

i walk to this weakness
and begin to tear away the
thorny burr leaf weed cage
until the rear door panel
is half uncovered

much to my surprise
i see a grinning
fruit shaped
yellow boys head
looking into my eyes

i know that logo
it was an old
Ferrara Pan Co.
Lemonhead truck

i laugh aloud
a moment of pure bliss
at the novel find
it looks as though it’s been planted
in this field
longer than i’ve
been alive

why is it here
i wonder
then speculate it was being
used to gather bales by a long time ago
fell like an elephant in
Hannibal’s conquering legion
and was left to decay

my curiosity quickened
i once again yank at the overgrowth
to find the license plate

it’s barely still existent
the magenta orange rust
has had it’s way
but i am able to decipher
1975 plates

i begin to fear
and feel suddenly small
my body turns around
to scan the field engulfing me
the only
sign of life is the
sound of a far off discontented cow
but i do not feel alone

fight or flight
my pulse and respiration rapid
i instinctively walk quickly away
all of me knowing better

the safety of my car
and i consider
the endeavor
had been silly to begin with

ah, that’s when the thought occurred

i should have looked inside

the interior of the cab was
grown through
and entirely
but in my seeking
i had uncovered
the truck’s
long ago thrown latch

i consider the danger of the situation
but can’t resist the urge
to try the door
knowing full well
this falls under the category
of i’ve come this far
why the fuck not

my still leather covered hands
try the lock
which proceeded
to disintegrate in my hand
the drop bar offered a bit of resistance
but eventually agreed to allow my entry

i hesitated
gathering the courage
to match the conviction
then in one motion
jumped back
as i threw open the doors

shirt sleeve shields my face as
a cloud of gnats dust
and particulate billowed
from the candy truck cave

my eyes adjusting as sun
crept unwanted into the bed

i am immediately struck
with a mortician’s awareness
of the smell of decades old death
seeped into the wooden floorboards

that’s when i saw
the fruit shaped
grinning yellow skull
looking into my eyes

part of his temporal lobe is missing
but he’s not bothered by it
though i’m sure his still shiny
alligator shoes
are sad to see
the fabric of his suit
as it mixes with the air

slumped he tells me
his secret
no one bothered
to take the wallet
just the cash in it

this man has never been
so unorganized

hiding in plain sight
reports of concrete stadium burials
greatly exaggerated

i say squarely to his
crouched beside in awe

so was it chicago, jimmy?

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