There’s a moment when, in the desert south of Vegas,
I turn up the music and begin to sing.
The broad, flat vowels lie heavy in my mouth like stones
but these notes dance up into the open sky.
She is handsome, she is pretty.
She is the belle of Belfast city
She is courting’ one, two, three.
Please won’t you tell me, who is she?
That day, I recall, I sing my way across the desert –
bare toes curled up against the dashboard
tanned arm braced against the window
skin sprinkled with Nevada dust and salt and sweat.
My eyes stay narrowed against the unremitting blue
and I am carried near and far from home.
Early next morning at the desert truck stop
I lift my eyes from my first strong coffee of the day
to see huge rigs around me smoking like prehistoric beasts;
or mighty dragons that have fallen –
their great chrome wings folded tight and close –
out of a darkly-starred and icy pre-dawn sky.
4 thoughts on “Poem no. 7 Cross Country”
Oh, those mighty silver dragons! <3
Thank you! I loved watching those huge rigs – and always felt like a small child beside a huge, steaming beast! Good memories of travelling many times across the USA!
Everything about this poem is right: the toes on the dashboard, the “unremitting” blue sky (perfect adjective!), the huge rigs like prehistoric beasts.
And of course, the first strong coffee of the day!
Thank you for this excellent poem.
Thank you – and you’re most welcome! I loved travelling across the USA and did so many times – including four coast-to-coast trips: the open roads of California, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming (and many other states) were a huge change after the tiny roads of Northern Ireland! But what journeys – what amazing folk I met – and how much coffee I drank! 🙂