The summer scenery turns from somewhat pretty
to pretty boring while you drive westward,
each minute seemingly evaporating as you approach it
like a puddle mirage on the highway.
Navigating past an elderly driver, you hold the wheel steady
in response to a crosswind that blows strong enough
to rip apart a double-wide and the deferred dreams
of all those loitering on its front porch.
Nature calls, as it does sometimes, so you venture
into the putrid restroom of a Flying J truck stop.
Once relieved, you survey the aisles of merchandise
and halfheartedly contemplate purchasing a John Deere cap,
snacks of limited nutritional value, or a cassette tape
of an evangelist preaching about the second coming.
While back on the road, you listen to the pastor’s sermon
hoping Jesus returns soon, bringing rain to rescue everybody
and their dying crops from this oppressive heat.
But for now, the sun is the only proof of God you have,
and the only sign promising salvation is about fifty miles away,
at the next exit with a billboard boasting it has a McDonald’s.