Driving from Alabama to Virginia, 1970, Paul Pruitt

Charles Hood, Only in America 3


Driving from Alabama to Virginia, 1970


Driving at dawn down the interstate,
I’m drawn in a night wind past the eastern sky,
Past steel rails green as my instrument light, soft as fate—
And I smile to see sweet Venus sting the night.

Around me endless great trucks sputter, growl, and
Mutter catechisms—their drivers, doubtless, trying to
Out-face the dark, brave the tensile strength of
Blackness and keep, at length, the strait-paved way.

But I don’t give a damn about their middle-aged hunger
For the day. The world can’t get by without me, and I
Won’t accept a piddling, remorseful niche. Whenever it
May be, dark or light, I’m driving, ready to flip the switch.

Paul Pruitt

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