The straight highway overarches and dips into oblivion
through the countryside.
At the school there is an institute for toxic studies which leads to a career
in the chemical pools.
Young men are decontaminated inside of long narrow capsules using waterboarding.
“i didn’t get a bonus. This is bullshit,” one says.
Out on the surface there is a square, an empty acre of blasted earth
surrounded by houses in various states of decay.
“i don’t think we wanna be here. This is a contaminated zone,” I say.
Elsewhere, an old lady with frizzy hair and a housedress drives a white Cadillac
with blue stripes like it’s a Formula One car.
At the intersection she screams to a halt, narrowly missing me. I try to write her plate
but the numbers keep changing.
Steven is there.
“why do you keep smiling?” he asks.
“because you look just like grandma brown.”
Paige calls from Texas.
“how’s two ladies from the South doin’?”
“oh. Is this Paige?” (I thought she had transported herself down there instantaneously, y’know, like some kind of tractor beam)
yeah, I know.
“how are you?”
“is this Paul David?”
“oh wow. Lemme go check.”
our mother has barricaded herself into the bathroom
using various chairs.
“uh, she’s barricaded herself in there. I don’t know why. Can she call you when she gets out?”
“sure, no problem.”
The rock show carries on. Somebody
likes grapes with chervil.