Her head bangs against the window
and dash when I stop and turn,
my legs too short to work
the brakes.
                 Mama’s crooked
brow, her makeup smearing away,
slurs something about good
ol’ boy music, a pint of Kentucky
Deluxe in her hand. Two hours,
she said, and three days later,
Tuesday, she is finally wanting
to stop. I am getting better
at the turns, guiding her
Cutlass through these hills,
ten miles an hour, gravel roads,
the Cutlass
                  rattling out the last
fumes of gas. Engine stops,
the night dimly lit by the moon
hung over the treetops;
owls calling each other from
hilltop to valley bend.
                               The radio
fades in and out of static,
tractors revving, cows lowing,
and we may never make it back,
home still five hills away, daylight
coming over rocky edges of the hills.

Santee Frazier, “Bluetop” from Dark Thirty. Copyright © 2009 by Santee Frazier. Reprinted by permission of University of Arizona Press.
Source: Dark Thirty (University of Arizona Press, 2009)
More Poems by Santee Frazier