Thorpe Moeckel

Free Samples

East of Asheville, rush hour, I-40, August
sun a warm feather pillow; deep-squint
as we pass the Biltmore Oil truck
at seventy-five; Blue Ridge
a regular EKG above the highway’s
skidmarked corridor,
green as we approach it,
green as we go away.
God bless input:
mullein, joe pye weed, queen anne’s lace
as if the guardrail was put there
to keep them lined up
below the sweetgum’s limp, lace-cuffed wrists,
the catawba’s junkmail. God bless
the empty basketball courts, netless rim
on telephone pole, red clay
cracked and weed-patched. God bless
the runaway truck ramps
as we leave Pisgah National Forest,
and come into furniture country
— life’s free samples —
burning brake pads, Sue’s fingers
like smilax on the van’s wheel,
loose, long, and unfailing;
snuffaluphagi of kudzu, shudder of sedge;
silent but deadlies in the back seat,
and alphabet races, B-bridge, C-grace.

Thorpe Moeckel
Free Samples is from Odd Botany, (Silverfish Review Press 2002).