Appomattox, VA & Morgantown, WV - September 23, 2018

 

    

 

 

 

 

 

we hit the road hard bright eyed 

and the weather turned cold and grey 

streaks blurring the glass on the short 

quick drive through farm fields and winding roads 

dotted by historic markers and churches 

we crashed a Pentecostal picnic in the back 

of the store looking for bathrooms 

and brushing on blush near the train 

tracks where Lincoln stood, and the wood 

of the floors giving a rhythm and depth 

that took us past the present and back 

and farther back before propelling us 

back onto the road in the rain up the hill 

behind a black bear bounding 

across the roadway like a beast

magnificent and quick and purposeful 

the deer, too, crossing just ahead of us 

but slower and more suspicious like me 

every passing day and eventually we landed 

at the wood-lined hotel where ghosts 

greeted us skeptically as we got room keys 

from the smiling blonde, god-fearing boy 

kindly cluing us in to the parking etiquette 

of west virginia as we rushed along 

to gig two where the man said wow 

and we didn’t know why, we’d only 

pulled up the van but the warmth 

greeted us like a blanket of low light 

winning us all over in another two hours 

time flying like the bear up the hill 

and then we returned to the ghosts 

who left evidence of their party 

on a dwindling bottle of booze 

so of course spirit jokes and deep 

conversations about love and lust and who 

has what when and break ups always good 

late-night banter with the ghosts in the room 

having a sip and wanting to tell their own 

and doing so once the lights are out 

and the next morning we washed them off 

in the rain at Coopers Rock where the clouds 

misted eyes and skin and leaves turned red 

and two bluejays appeared in a second 

to offer assurances of peace and promise 

before we rounded the corner into Maryland 

and had ourselves a feast