Nothing compares to the smell of manure
stewing in mid-morning sun. A day after
the monsoons have passed, the hills are neon:
alive, awake, and sponging what remains.
Nothing is the same as a vacant stretch
of road rolling silent and gray ahead
as if it were built for you and you alone,
a private passageway, a corridor
cutting across Kentucky back country
from Bowling Green to Owensboro.
Wind rushing past your ears muffles the sound
of your engine, of tires being chewed
by asphalt, dissolving into its skin
like rain into parched earth or blue sky
melting down to a muddy horizon.
Up ahead the road merges, intersects,
or ends. They all do one or the other.
Traffic will replace wet shit with exhaust,
budding trees with neon fast food signs.
Nothing to write home about, but you will
remember this trip and keep it with you
after the final grains of rubber dust
have been washed from your clothes, your hair, your beard,
long after you’ve parked your bike forever
and the road has forgotten you, your
journeys, how well you wore your wheels.
M. SCOTT DOUGLASS was born in Pittsburgh and lives in Charlotte, NC. He’s the Publisher and Managing Editor at Main Street Rag. His most recent book of poetry is Hard to Love (2012). His next, Just Passing Through, is forthcoming from Paycock Press in fall 2017.