Highway Patrol


Highway Patrol
by Dan Raphael

The highways so straight and unpopulated
I can set cruise control and rise through the roof,
hovering above the panorama of all that’s hidden
as the road falls away, as hillocks suppurate erosion
                                                long eroded open
& wind damaged, without hydration and 7 essential oils
squoze from time, squoze from the olives intention,
how corn turns sunlight into technology.

The vein in my upper arm curves exactly like the river
neath several generations of asphalt layered with
tires, burger wrappers, shirts shed in celebration.
When crossing the freeway is like russian roulette
with a hundred cavitied chamber how can there be road kill?
Its where we die that matters, how much of us dissolved
before a quorum ceased to exist.

The car and the road take turns being flower and bee, paper and scissors,
hand and zipper, as what used to grow here is still descending,
knowing the sun must be somewhere, mistaking gravity for wind.
South is down and north is up, east is where we came from.
Unnoticed hills now surround us, as if each termite needs its own mound
as if each tree must taste a dozen graves, some only sketched in
by shadow and the promise of plastic flowers.

Each hill cascades a subdivision with black striped buses
about to burst with seedlings and a hunger for entertainment.
To rest our wings as if we never used them; to think sweetness
comes from the pantry, from the mall over the horizon
where sails as large as clouds cant attract the continents
but only whats carefree or abundant.

The ocean does not shop or build armies;
each land knows who is to its right and left.
Fish sprout legs and wings while birds roll their feathers inside them.
As I move my hands apart a thousand decisions are made
on infrastructure, astronomy, ingredients and whats next,
mysteries between every finger.

Don’t open this until you’re out of the car, near something
soft to fall on, a place you could stay a couple hours.
Exhausted, the car recites everywhere it came from,
whistling the frequency of robots and wrenches.
Smelling precious lubricants I hope its my day to absorb
whether it takes three or thirteen breaths for sufficient spark,
oxygen tickled into a smile reminds the sun, the moon,
my consensual right foot, the protein my hand pulls from 75 miles pre hour
but I’m not moving: I’m mercurial as sap in a mile-long tree
where every bud is a new language, a lottery ticket,
the off ramp before the last visible dog

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