You’ve looked for the myth of America
across every state in the union,
and you’re no closer to finding it now
than you were at six years old, looking out
the back window of a station wagon, believing
that corn fields ran under the whole length of the sky.
Now, you know that the highway
hides her broken back. It makes sense
to you, following the crooked spine,
that something in your gut feels like glass breaking.
You stop for gas and look at everyone
under the bright and unconnected ceiling,
punching numbers, lifting handles, sticking nozzles into tanks
and squeezing. They look at their cars or straight ahead
caught up in movements that don’t require music.
And you can’t help feeling lost
driving out from beneath the lights,
the smell of gasoline still faintly on your hands,
because you know you’ll turn left to get home.