Highway 54: Stratford, Texas
The motel maid's kid left pink
and blue marbles in the shower stall.
The room is sour with the sweat
of the last guest, a runaway priest.
Across the road there's whiskey,
baskets of fried vegetables,
a stove-belly bartender
with glazed eyes and a leather vest.
A half awake dancer sways,
keeps a loose grip on a brass pole.
She's body-painted gold, smiles,
lifts a big fake breast, shimmy-pivots.
Later, at a roadside pancake house,
over strawberry shortcake, she smiles,
strokes her glass of iced tea.
A waitress calls her Freckles.
The water from your shower is rusty.
You shut your eyes, see yesterday's
twisted cars, flares on blacktop.
There's a still life of apples above your bed.
Freckles puts on her lemon-colored dress,
jots her number on a Gideon Bible,
says, You should feel as happy as Jesus,
like on his 21st fucking birthday.