The sonorous drone of my wheels
along the endless, flat asphalt —
faded gray and baked lifeless
by a thousand summer suns.
A dead tire remnant,
stiff legs skyward,
black body curled upon itself,
as if death were painful.
Shattered, scattered drops of glass
along the shoulder,
a million, tiny, reflected points of light.
A solitary flip-flop,
abandoned by its mate,
no doubt lonesome for the toes it once touched.
The twisted carcass of a deer,
bloated body reeking from internal gasses,
grossly swollen in the heat,
nothing like the graceful life it once held.
Large, nylon orange triangles
which proclaim “BEGIN MOWING ZONE”,
and moments later,
the sweet smell of freshly cut grass
blowing through the air vents of my car.
Undulating bands of yellow-ochre and sage,
fields of high color
set against an ocean of weak, cloudless blue.
Empty five-gallon buckets
probably left-over from some D.O.T. project,
lying down on the job,
no lids protect the air inside.
A sassy black crow
pecks at unrecognizable road-kill,
determined to finish his meal,
completely fearless of the metal death that rushes past.
Flutters of white paper against green,
litter from careless, unthinking hands
cast from their world into ours,
but no one seems to mind.
Most of these things project sadness
of a dying world that has moved on,
always moving, meandering, wandering
along a highway of an aging culture.
Long after man is dust,
the packed, stone roads will still be here,
marking the byways and well-traveled trails
of steel beasts and their drivers…
~ C.L.R. ~ © 2005