Asylum

If I pulled over
and got out and started walking,
this old car would rust
and winds that forgot to love their families,
would eat away the engine
like the foothills of the county.

By the time all this happens
I could’ve walked through enough small towns
to fill the state asylum and the parking lot.
I could’ve met the mountains,
got bored with our love
and walked back again.

I learned about the land in bed.
The mountains are mobile,
they are constantly chasing each other
across the scablands—
mating rituals slow
and decisive,
unceasingly hopeful unlike the gas station

where I stop for a drink.
I throw change on the counter
smile at the worn-down nametag
on the aging woman.
Then drive away.
50 55 60 65 75 80
The mountains cry their quiet rivers.

Ben Read lives in Spokane, Washington, where he is a junior at Lewis and Clark High School. He has been recognized by inroads, RiverLit, Airplane Reading, and The Adroit Journal. Other than writing, he likes to assault people with philosophy while participating in speech and debate, attend and read at local poetry slams in tiny coffee and burrito shops, and listen to music similar to the Juno soundtrack. He wishes his dog Wally would be a better muse, but until then, he’ll have to stick with the river.

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