3:00 AM.

Spent night / for us  / in this damp, 
everyone could smell each other.

There was / hanging / on the wind 
a scent, a black seaweed
whipping / around / the peninsula.
The alligator gods of Florida, watching openly.


with leprous bark / encrusted / and eyes 
winking in the headlights, 
only disturbed to disquiet 
if we came / close / — their sacrifices.

My father / was / driving.  
I sat / behind him / in the blue VW.
Six years old / I was / along for the ride.  

I thought / was / my dad lonely–
Had his all been mellow scotches and / happy / wines?

He was playing drums on the wheel
to stay awake.

3:01 AM.  

Fourteen hours / to / Orlando.
A cup of / black / coffee / was / all he wanted,
and he began to stop everywhere.
There wasn’t / a truck stop with / coffee
ready to go, 
none anyone would make.

I began to cry.  Coffee was priceless.


                              *style modeled after the manner of Etheridge Knight