All she wants is static with a road under her. On clear nights, radio waves speak all the way from Montana, the Dakotas, Colorado. In between static, mixed voices. Music, static. Talk, static. Commercials, static. Well, Linda, we don’t know because the good bookdoesn’t tell us, but it seems she was beatento be made fun of— Static. Finger on the seek button. Numbers counting up by themselves. Mileage and speedometer, the lighter’s flick. Pledge drive happening now. The phone lines are open— Two fingers holding a wheel and a cigarette. Metallic burst of brass, flare of trumpet, the undercurrent of bass line, then— The ease of cruising smooth pavement. Jenny, listen, even a Seeing Eye dog wags its tailat its owner, and so the Congress— Gust of wind pushing the car to the shoulder. Traffic report. Weather report. War report. Inaudible pop song. Little white crosses on the shoulder. Blue guitar rift. High hat. hey, hey, hey — The cigarette’s cherry bouncing, signaling in the rearview mirror. No one in America should have to apologizefor making a living— This is her black night. Smoke curling out the window. Doesn’t every story have the fight or flight chapter? Poor pop song in the dark. Poor painted face on the glass hovering over the landscape. Poor highway of few desires. Cold coffee in the cup holder. His thumbprint’s bruise on her forearm. Her cut scars. Shake off the cold southern Wyoming— It’s all static. Nicotine, gasoline. Sunglasses rattling on the dash. [End Page 18] High plains one way, Rockies the other. In her dreams the radio only hisses with no words to memorize, just the trance of dashed lines behind the ironic bobble-head Jesus. No horizon. No moon. No past tense fogging the glass. Just static. Seat reclined, the fast lane, she’s barely steering— in the distance, headlights. [End Page 19]
Lindsay Wilson, an English professor in Reno, Nevada, has published four chapbooks, and he has poetry published in the Portland Review, Verse Daily, the South Dakota Review, Salamander, and Harpur Palate.