PART OF THE JOB
Do you remember how the old road clung
close to the creek, narrow track in and out
of every draw, strewn with leaves? Loose
barb wire hung from old redwood posts
at ease, relaxed and patched at tangents
of each curve into the creek, hubcaps
peeking from the weeds. Part of the job
was looking off the edge for evidence –
grass laid flat, turned boulders scuffed
or splintered posts each morning, before
the cows got out into the long pasture.
Check inside the cab for corpse or dreams
of no better place to spend the night
than with cricket violinists and a tree frog
chorus with steam and water whispering.
You had to drive it slow, forty years ago –
before they straightened it for safety, before
the ambulances and vehicles we don’t know.