Road Trip, ca. 1980

Zigzagging up the mountain road, wonder why
you see only sparse cover of pine— dry
xylem of plants that knew more succulence
when waterfalls cleft rocks and veiled our
vision briefly as buses veered close in their
upward climb. Difficult to fall asleep on
the six to seven hour trip, the driver’s
stash of Betamax tapes playing musicals or
Ronnie Poe and Joseph Estrada action films.
Quiet chatter and endless snacking,
punctuated by the occasional query
on how far away the rest stop is.
Next town’s not it, so another hour
maybe, before they let us file out,
list toward the bathrooms. Had I
known, thirty years ago, that meant
just a slab of concrete on chilled ground,
I might have been better prepared to squat,
half on tiptoes while on my haunches, pee
guttering in a channel from a row of women
fixing their eyes on the horizon. Au naturel.
Evening quickly masks the scene. There’s a pump
damp with running water where we wash. The driver
cuts up meat and drinks a cup of coffee. We eat.
Before getting back on the bus, someone sneezes:
a fifteen minute wait, as superstition dictates.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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