POETRY

Rock me, Mama

By

I-65 has stalled. The spokes
Of Old Crow’s “Wagon Wheel” have spun
The road enough. The singer tokes
And hopes to God he’ll see his one

True baby tonight. The saga, sign—
The fatal bus crash in the ‘80s—
I’m not far from the Buckeye line.
And there’s a milk truck and Mercedes

As Parks, from “Barstow,” wants his bottle,
His twenties pissed—and me. I’ve missed
Another rest stop and the coddle
Of my own bed. My driving wrist

Cramps tight.
                      Pulled over at the Stop
‘N’ Go, I wrestle charring leaves
From the fog lights. Sizzling wings and, pop!
A high watt beetle dies. In eaves

Of grave-like, ant sandcastle dirt
I almost want to cross my chest.
          I wander through the mart and “Hurt”
In stereo, trying my best

To make it look as if I don’t
Look obvious.
                      I pretend I’m light.
Shining in People’s blurb, YOU WON’T
SEE THESE PICs EVERYWHERE, the bright

Flash off a starlet’s dress, a wink
Of black sequins until I dash—
Ashes. I (“…to a burning…”) think,
What’s with white boys and Johnny Cash?

And afterimages? Does no
One see essentially this see-
Me-see-me-not? It’s like lotuses grow
Down south in blue grass—jujube

Served hot with eggs and all’s forgotten
By noon. I am the lotus: mama-
And-baby soft, white bunny cotton.
I’m blooming everywhere to bomb a

Flat landscape, cover corn, shield herd
And house, and families dreaming of me
With a lullaby of every word
On the cd spun since Tennessee.

Erica Dawson is the author of two books of poetry: The Small Blades Hurt (Measure Press, 2014) and Big-Eyed Afraid (Waywiser, 2007). Her poems have appeared in Best American Poetry, Barrow Street, Harvard Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other journals and anthologies. She lives in FL, where she's an Assistant Professor of English and Writing at The University of Tampa, and teaches in both the undergraduate and low-residency MFA programs.

I-65 has stalled. The spokes
Of Old Crow’s “Wagon Wheel” have spun
The road enough. The singer tokes
And hopes to God he’ll see his one

True baby tonight. The saga, sign—
The fatal bus crash in the ‘80s—
I’m not far from the Buckeye line.
And there’s a milk truck and Mercedes