Needles, CA to Bliss, ID

She’s hitching a ride with
her broken thumb adorned by
chipped, orange dreamsicle polish. The driver is a Mormon bishop and father of five,
who is driving from his parent’s home
here in Needles, California,
to his family in Twin Falls, Idaho. He pulls over and
she climbs in the back,
when he offers her the front,
and they exchange niceties and destinations. She had always wanted to go to Bliss, Idaho.
It so happens it’s her lucky day because
it’s on the way to Twin. She sinks into the comforting monotony
of the endless asphalt highways,
rationing the handful of linty Vicodin
she keeps in an Altoids tin in her backpack.
She’s saving the “other junk” for Bliss
in an empty, pizza flavored Pringles can. Volcanic rock formations and
endless western skies
link to
high desert sagebrush and
roaming circle skeletons of
Mama and baby tumbleweeds. Moving toward civilization,
she sniffs the bitter, processed,
Idaho sugar beet air of the
White Satin Sugar Factory. It’s located in Nampa, Idaho,
population 56,003
with the number steadily changing.
As of 15 minutes ago,
the two Mexican twins
who were born at Mercy Hospital
bump it up a couple
on this her last day. The Bishop wakes her up
and tells her he wants to
show her something.
Driving south on Pleasant Valley Road in Boise,
just before the Maximum Security Prison,
he turns at the BLM sign simply stating,
Wild Horse Corrals. They park and get out,
stand close to the first fence,
to look at these fierce, skittish,
massively strong and shy beauties. He says he and his family may
return during one of the BLM auctions
to buy a horse for the
entertainment of their five kids. She can’t stop looking at them.
She nods quietly as some turn
to look at her.
Her eyes are brimming with salt water
and she feels like her heart was
just carved out of her chest
with a melon baller
when she sees a group of them sprint
in the corral,
like a school of fish or a wave of birds. Leaning on the chain link fence,
in her painless dream state,
she just wants the wild ones to know
that she’s just like them. She’s sorry they aren’t out of their confines.
Sorry that their natural born wildness
must leave them and
sorry they will eventually,
one by one,
leave their pack
that once ran with the coyotes
and prairie dogs. Heading East on I-84
she floats like 7-Up bubbles
and begins a preparation of sorts.
She writes a few words
in her dirty composition book.
“Please play the Carter Family’s Wildwood Flower
and read Bukowski’s, The Laughing Heart”on page 93.”
They will find it in a ratty old anthology of poems
in her backpack. A little further down,
an hour or so,
they arrive in Bliss, Idaho
at the parking lot of the
Fearless Farris The Skunk
Stinker Gas station.
She thanks the Bishop
and tells him to pick the shyest one. In the bathroom,
with the contents of the Pringles can,
she leaves one last track
on her arm,
and feels her pain becoming a mist
as she reaches her final destination
from Needles, CA
to Bliss.
Copyright © 2018 by Carolyn M. Bevington. All Rights Reserved.


This poem has been reserved by an artist – but we have many more!

When you find a poem you’d like to illustrate, please complete the RESERVE NOW form and we’ll set the poem aside for YOU to illustrate.