Freeway Drifter

By Will Tuttle

Young Airedale, you lope along—

            Strong easy strides, you sweep

                        The factory streets, by broken glass

                                    And gritty cardboard

                                                And pause,

            Investigating . . .  Listening . . . Sniffing . . . .

Up and off again, trotting rhythm, head floating high,

            You jag to the right,

                        Drift across scattered pebbles,

            And your gait is easy and sure – you’re a drifter.

You round a corner,

            The traffic roar grows . . .

                        (No shoulders on the freeway here, just a fence)

                                    Don’t go round that offramp post!

                                    Don’t go round that fence!

Your wooly head bobs in the backwash of the river road,

            Dazing scream and whoosh . . .

                        A biting cloud invades your nose,

                                    Storms of grit sting your bobbing eyes and head . . .

                                                Look out! Look out!

You dodge a roaring demon on old highway 17.

                        Look out! Look out!

Lone drifter, you danced a few long moments there –

            In the roaring madness you pleaded.

                                    Mute and alone,

            Too soft and slow –


                        In the river rush of empty metal cans.

Blood oozes from your smashed bones,

            The freeway bellows and churns, sucking in and spewing out.

                                    Where have you gone?



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