Texaco Station on Route 66 by Andreas Feininger
If not for Grace and her tender mercies,
this tall drink of water might have evaporated
inside deserted borders of my own making,
might have shuddered straight through darkness,
never to return to light ... stranger things
have happened - repeatedly.
she saved me, time and again,
from the obscure, the obscene, the obtuse,
from my very self,
bringing me back into levels of bright boldness,
startling me with her gentle hand,
outstretched with kindness.
My tragic hips jutted into sharp corners,
in too big of a hurry to slow down, while captured
by curves of a resonant Rubenesque woman
floating barely beneath transparent flesh of a thin shadow.
Grace left before I arrived; she was my father's first love
who crept under sweet soil, never to be seen again.
There were no photographs left behind,
no flat memories of sepia to unfold into larger dimensions.
I did not hear her voice or feel her touch.
Tornadoes wore my name as a mantel, a shawl, a cloak,
hidden by gray clouds, murmuring the deceit of rain.
Trains did not leave the abandoned station.
Their skeletons grew heavy with rust,
no destination in mind. Just there,
like a proverbial bad penny.
Language was music to my naïve bones,
a refusal to break completely from the past
while pursuing future tithings, while breathing
the clarity of a moment, adagio.
Words gathered me closely,
their fragrance too seductive
I became a wild bouquet of prairie flowers,
never meant to stay for long, yet
perhaps long enough to leave a trace behind
of a path not seen by weary travelers -
they stayed on smoother concrete of a newer highway,
not understanding those soothing sounds
of divided sections of an ancient road,
caught under fast-moving wheels,
unaware of secrets found lurking
at the Last Chance Texaco.