Ten miles out of Albuquerque her engine surrenders.
So much for noble steeds. Even my car knows better.
Covered in road dust and cowboy grace, I shrug my way into the nearest bar,
Where a man smiles approvingly
And buys me an El Sol. “I drink it for the taste,” he says,
Lips lingering on the rim like a prayer.
He does not.
I ask where he’s headed, one soldier to another.
Bar like this, I figure, is a junction of sorts, and
Nobody ever called the crossroads home.
But his smile is a firefly I can’t quite catch.
“Doesn’t matter,” he breathes against the bottle.
“Nobody’s home anyway.”
His leviathan gaze speaks every language
And I want to hide my crucifix under my shirt.
He asks “So then. Who are you looking for?”
Nobody, I lie.
The man laughs.
I do not.
“Bullshit,” he sighs. “They’re always looking for someone.
I think they don’t have the equipment
To settle, to be satisfied.
Whenever they try
It just breaks them apart.”
His lips worship the rim of
His mostly empty beer bottle.
I tell him that I’m looking for God in all the wrong places
Because, well, he looks like he could use the joke.
“Ain’t that somethin’,” he sighs.
In the mirror hanging above the liquor bar, the man meets his own eyes.
The firefly winks out. “So what if God doesn’t want to be found?”
I offer then that I guess that makes two of us,
And I wouldn’t blame him,
And hey, at least I have enough music for the road.
Neither of us laugh.
But he touches the bottle to his cheek,
A lover’s caress.
“Wrong or right, I can’t tell any more,” he confesses.
“But here’s some advice:
Look in all the wrong places.
If it were me, I’d
Start with the flatbread.”
I clap him on the back and head back to my car
To hold vigil in the good night, as if this ditch were her bedside.
But when I get there, she’s purring sweetly
Like she had been looking for me all this time.
And in the smoky headlight glow