Next to the half-illuminated pseudo-suns over my left shoulder
—Days Inns, Comfort Inns, La Quinta Inns, Sleep Inns—
Is a larger, brighter one, sinking horizonward
As a darker blue begins to rise gently from the south-east
And the air grows richer with the textures of grain,
Water spray, dust, hogs, rural perfume.
The message is clear:
Get off the freeway, whose gash here looks no different
Than any other such wound throughout the country,
And onto old US 6,
Which plays the soft hills like a topographical line
And rides close to the barns, the last-century houses,
The corn so near you can read the DeKalb numbers,
And through the dying towns and their ghostly auto shops
Feed stores, barely open cafes (all gone to pizza),
As the air grows misty-fragrant dark
And the bugs pile up on the windshield
And you roll down your window and lean your elbow on the sill.
Somewhere out there is truth,
Caught as surely as it is in the space
Between Keats and his Nightingale.
Who could want more?