Interstate Sonnet by Carl Marcum

A cigarette kiss in the desert. The wind-proof arc
of flame sparks inside the speeding Buick. Menthol:
a break from the monotony of highway nicotine—
most intimate of drugs. Make this mean sorrow
or thermodynamics, whatever small gesture
there is time for. Light another one, the vainglorious

interstate dusk and ash—the long, silver tooth.
This shirtless abandon, this ninety-mile-an-hour
electric laugh. The edges of windshield, haphazard
chatter. The clatter of the hubcap and the thunderclap:
the white-hot retinal memory of your life as a Joshua tree.
Permanence in the passenger seat. This long haul,

this first drag—nothing like cinnamon, nothing
like the iron taste on the back of your mortal tongue.

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