Road trips always have their mishaps: flat tires, snow bound axles, punctured oil pans. Forgotten reels. Cases of beer left on the topper. Break-ups, break-downs, and break-ins… and in the wide open free range of the west: the wandering black angus.
Thief of My Fish
Searching beneath the stars that cover Walcott
in a loud, bright blanket, I try to catch hold
of this life which keeps expanding: up the road
a black cow waits on the black asphalt in the deep
black night. That there was a single cow instead of three
or four basking in the last heat, simply luck.
That Travis slams the brakes, whips the wheel,
and shoots past the immobile mass, a miracle.
Afterward, neither of us has much to say. Travis rolls
down the window and smokes. The world in motion,
suddenly suspends. We could be anywhere, cut loose,
transfixed by scales that tip back and forth then slip
away into the current. To feel the brush of wing,
but never beak or talon, to wake suddenly, mesmerized
by the rushing highway wind. The small bump caught
in the headlights. A deer that lifts over the crumpled hood.
The night opens as wide as it ever will, then slams
back to two lanes, complimentary ditches, guardrails.
We pull over and listen to creaking beetle-kill, pretend
to be mindless as we piss. But I can’t help think about
whatever it is that keeps us from slamming into
immobile masses. Equations flash through the brush
as someone drives past. Black cow waits, unsolvable.
Waits like a worm-bobbered thief of my fish. Even if I tried
to keep watch until sunrise, you’d steal them during the day.