Raymond Farr The 2River View, 5.4 (Summer 2001)

Back Roads to Macon

I'm driving to Macon from Fort Walton Beach
but I could be anyone going anywhere,
and it seems pointless to consider the map
tucked in my glove box.
At the moment my life is predestined—
the highways, the coffee, the girl who serves it,
who smiles sincerely in a truck stop near Tifton,
as if peace of mind didn't roll past her
like the clean cut Georgia Highway Patrol.
Her name being Clare in case you're curious.
I was, and asked, though I don't know why
seeing as how we'll never meet again.
Her name drifts from my lips—gas fumes
rising from the pump which evaporate even now.
And because a man churns through his past
no matter how much it hurts, everything I abandon
waits for me in Macon. So I lag and look around
as though this scraggy farmland could reveal
something of comfort if I'm just patient enough
but I feel more like a stranger than ever
and keep moving, pushing towards Macon,
thinking I can run from the devil
or fool him with a change of scenery. Cruising
through Cordele I spot a blessing,
a hand-painted sign nailed to a mailbox:
Whatever your destination, thank God you arrive.

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