Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Interstate V: Virginia, I-77 South

The old feeling returns again, rising
in the throat, like mountains
crawling slow over the horizon
and erupting into the realm of sight;
nostalgia riding shotgun beside,
traveling Interstate down from the hills,
nausea—memories sit heavy
on the stomach, coming unbidden.
The lighted barrels point the way--bridge work
ahead. They highlight lost destinations:
the dining room cluttered with collapsed boxes,
a recently scattered house of cards
one short moment after breath's chilling breeze.

Forsaking home to return home,
leaving that land too crowded with ghosts,
my own and the land's own, where no River
Lethe flows to bring placid amnesia
to those who plod shoulder to shoulder
with the past; the names regurgitate
past glories and follies to the present—
nostalgia crowded too tight in the gut,
cramped, metallic Nausea in the mouth.
Its counterpoint, looping though that valley
nestled between inscrutable mountains,
where the winds seem to whisper her name,
the witnesses to that tumult, the old
blood of which Shenandoah still pushes
north as if precursor to the events
that put its name in every living mouth.
Where the wheeling constellations above
pulled my soul along their pre-cut paths,
Orion hounding me at every step.

The road flows downhill, now crossing that bridge.
Is it the Rubicon? No, merely the New.
Leaving the valley, adopting a home,
where the mountains of glass and steel erupt
skyward, pointing guilty fingers upward
to only capricious stars that, when seen,
move at random, planes in neon-washed dusk,
going to and from Hartsfield, which pulses
and sends its stream to other cities' hearts;
where the only ghosts yet live, crawling the streets
carrying cardboard placards—omens
of Armageddon: "Why lie, I need a beer."

To anonymity and forgetfulness,
all roads will soon lead—a new home
370, then later, 92.
But for now, the car heads southward
and Fancy Gap Mountain fades from my view.

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