Everything is in order
and the phone’s been shut off.
The dry engine turned over
with a dry chuckle and cough.

Each key’s found a lock
and pocket, and I mapped
the exact route. I’ll quarter the lemons,
each sandwich I wrapped.

Toss your army bag over a seat,
I’ll fill you in on the way.
Nothing remains for us here,
but you plead to stay.

If a capable dial reads zero,
all the tires spin and spin.
That the mimic miles stop winding
shall alone tell us we’re done.

We’re done and we are done for
but we haven’t been far,
and all will be much worse
if you step free from the door.

So roll up the car’s windows
and stay there buckled tight;
I’ll scan for a good station
to sing us good night.

Fall asleep on my shoulder;
I’ll rest my head on your arm.
Tell the children you love them
or just stare out at a star.

(For limits relax as cheer fails,
and after the day has fled,
a pall of fear affirms the hedged rabbit
is lapped by a charmed pride.)

O you see the hard trip is finished,
though can’t accept why
the rash wheels each keep spinning
if there is no place to be.

_ The poem is an anagram of Walt Whitman’s “O Captain, My Captain.”

Mike Smith | Mudlark No. 30
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