In semester break at UNCC in 1975, with backpack, I hitched from Charlotte NC to Florida to spend time with a buddy. I spent hours waiting for rides. This one depicts a portion when I ended up spending the night in a sleeping bag off ramp, somewhere in Georgia.
Hitching exhaust fumes
as semis and flat tops rage by;
campers and U-Hauls clog inner lanes.
It takes only one mechanical host
for this parasite’s ride on 95 South.
Two men with thistly faces taxi me
through Georgia in a crumpled van.
They snort cheap vodka, munch Milky Ways
and drawl about a paralyzed son
withering in a VA Hospital. A fly
buzzes in and out of hearing.
At dusk I’m jettisoned by an exit,
knee deep in retreads. Swamp pines
are saber-toothed against the Zodiac.
The headlights and hungry jaws of a bug-eating grill
roar through pitch, blast by, horn blaring
and red lights trails,
squeezes into a red spot, and
disappears into the black hole
of a deep December night.