Driving Through West Texas

Driving Through West Texas
by Larry D. Thomas
Locked for an hour on cruise control
without meeting another vehicle,
I’m hypnotized by yellow
stripes, whizzing by like arrows.
Sixty miles back, I missed the sign
posted by a Mobil Hopper
would’ve liked, the last gas stop
for the next hundred miles.
The wind howls through my cracked
window. Though moonless, the night
reminds me of the set
of an old Frankenstein flick,
flaring with hundreds of torches.
The Day-Glo reddish-orange
needle of my gas gauge
quivers, almost horizontal.
I swerve to miss a diamondback
slithering across the macadam.
For no clear reason, I say aloud
the word diamondback.
It startles me, not so much the word
itself but the intimacy
with which I utter it,
as if it were the name of a friend.

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