Good Friday 2001, Riding North
Yellow makes a play for green among
the rows of some poor farmer's field outside
the Memphis city limits' northern edge.
A D. J. plays The Day He Wore My Crown,
not knowing it entices into tears
this woman never once disposed to travel
the holiday before. My children squander
unleavened bread brought forth from Taco Bell.
What sacrifice of mine could be worth mention?
Enshroud it. Christ's is death enough to mourn.
Casino Aztar, Blytheville slide from view,
their souvenir and deli stations yielding
to miles of scrub-packed, newly-cultured meadow --
the man beside me rushed at the expense
of all around him.
Gripped by sentiment
at being once again in this, the country
his innocence absorbed, he sings the songs
of artists prone to praise the great Midwest,
prodigal farms and wheat. My eyes are burning.
An eighteen-wheeler whip has somehow managed
to drive his truck straight up a grass embankment
which rises to an overpass ahead.
It lingers there, a sacrament of chrome,
as I make peace at length with pink crape myrtles,
white baby's breath in bloom, whose counterparts
have two months past surrendered back at home.
How long were they bent down, exhausted, jealous
for what could not be theirs, before they fell?
And did the lilies of Gethsemane
cry out with all their strength for God's relent,
or were they sweetly mute as these I see?