Pink Valentine Highways – Meeah Williams

It’s September
I hang my bare feet
out the window
to feel the wind
rush through my toes.

Your jaw is set like Dick Tracy’s.
Your eyes squinched tight
as key slots.
I sense your spirit animal
is the holstered gun
beneath your armpit.

We’re halfway to nowhere,
Obetz, Ohio,
where you make me dig a grave
and bury the last mementos
of my past.

Evidence, you call it.

Quiet here this morning,
I note, uneasily.

Quiet happens sometimes, hun,
you reply.

In Minnesota you shoot a cow
that wandered too close to the fence
for your liking.
It just stands there with a red hole
in its forehead
chewing gum as if nothing happened.
Maybe nothing has.

The further west we go
the filthier the motels get.
You watch me with a trucker
one greasy night
when you can’t get stiff.
The floor beneath my knees
crunches with the bones
of small things.

It’s always October
before you know it.
The frost on the windshield
when you pull me
still half-sleeping through parking lots.
Four a.m., you explain,
is a good time to leave anywhere.
All the better to be outside
the city limits
when the bodies are found.

I’m not sure, you see, if any of this
is really happening. It seems
like something I saw on a DVD
in a boyfriend’s basement
with his hand sneaking
guiltily down my panties.
I’m staring straight ahead
with a frozen smile
when the hitchhikers slide
in the back.

It’s November when you decide
the gig is up. It’s easier,
you decide, to kill alone.
That’s my interpretation
of what you said.
It’s not one you appreciate.
For the first time in months
I’m awake enough to put up
something like a fight.
You slap me so hard
I see behind me for an instant.
The miles and miles that lead us
to this moment.
There’s another girl
standing in the doorway.

All the time you drive us
God knows where
zigzagging our way
beneath the Bible belt
I’m licking off my face
so you won’t recognize me;
when at last you open the trunk
a flock of blinding white birds
rushes out.