tarp came up out of grants so
i stopped and re-hitched everything
and went for a dixie queen
screen door slams and shirra says:
‘hey bert, where’d ya get the shirt?’
that’s damned old, shirra, i said
coffee coffee i’m going to colorado springs
and i need some coffee
‘well, we got the mud, all right,’ she says
‘have a set down.’
i sit down and i see this stranger
he’s got a yellow cast and
his eyes are sweaty and flicking around
i look down at the menu.
whatcha got for beef here, shirra
‘chicken-fried steak’s the best’, she says
so i get that. and a cold dixie queen.
when i’m done i head for the men’s room
pay with a ten, shirra gets the change and
gives me a friendly pat.
‘y’all come back now, here?’
ah, that shirra.
the road’s good tonight, nobody out
new mexico desert’s strange in the dark
too many stars
not enough ground
i start to hum, which i do when i drive
and i think about shirra
looking out over that deep grey sea
not a wave for miles under that sweet moon
i came up on a VW bug stuck off the road
the guy looked panicky so i pulled over
‘i’m not stuck but i can’t push-start it down there’
i get one of the big straps out
and tie it to his bumper
my baby doesn’t even notice but i can see
he’s up and running. we get the strap off
and he thanks me.
‘i can’t tell you, man. it was getting spooky out here.’
i know, i tell him. like a big grey ghost sea.
he looks like he’s gonna faint.
‘thank you. i’ll pass it on.’
you do that, fella. have a good night.
once his tail lights are gone
the grey ghosts come out again
that man
has no idea.
that’s my good deed for today.
ah, shirra.

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