Down a back road lined with
soy beans and dried up corn stalks,
he said I’ll make a country girl outta you yet
and let me borrow his old, white pickup truck.
I watched the sun glint off an abandoned fishhook
between the dashboard and windshield.
What was just another Saturday for me
was his first day called up for battle,
fighting the front lines against
the mass in his chest. I felt the weight
of the heat suddenly, as if the dusty tint
of his addiction sealed the windows shut.
I rolled them down manually, the
thick air moved around me and
the stack of crushed maps
the pair of dry socks
the tackle box
smelled different. The country song
on the radio sounded too sad,
like not even whiskey could make things
better. I just wanted to make him
feel better, stronger, healthier.
So I followed that back road
to a main road onto Route 66
and drove until the fishhook
stopped glowing white,
the soot on the windows disappeared,
and the country music sounded happy.
In June, I became a country girl.