Passing Albuquerque

The car I’ve driven since high school,
The one I learned to drive stick on,
Shifts smoothly into fourth, then fifth.
I easily pass white-fingered family men, driving
New automatics with screaming children,
Dogs,
And partners, oh partners,
Insisting that they slow down,
Speed up,
Stop.

It’s day three; I’m leaving Albuquerque.
Goodbye, New Mexico. Sorry to say,
But I won’t be back soon.
Your empty desert highways,
The same ones I drove in Utah,
Make for easy podcast listening,
But also for dull drives.

The smell of greasy food from a gas station fills the cab,
Mad men and women poke at each others’ politics,
And the sun peeks over the sandstone crag.
Ten more hours of driving remain today, but just a small stretch waits
For me
Tomorrow.

The podcast ends,
The traffic falls away,
And I’m left only with a car
Skating along in fifth.

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