eyes on the road

he had acquired the habit
of staring off in the distance
when riding in the car for any length of time
the window frame a blur
of fields, mean houses,
straight dirt roads every mile
and not much else
a few small towns they passed through
had buildings that were built
with ornate detail and fine craftsmanship
he liked those towns the best

if he went with his father
it was usually for work
no conversation
no radio
sometimes there wasn’t any
to listen to anyway
too far away to pick up
he just watched the land pass by
the rhythm of tires on the road
and the feel of the hot air
pushing through the little turned out window
watching, waiting, daydreaming
while the hypnotic ticking of row crops
straight roads and telephone poles went on

he got used to that
driving for hours
without talking
he noticed anything new and different
and in new places
he would lose himself
in the discovery
of things he’d never
seen before
some people were unnerved
by his long silences
and he never until
they complained
he thought that’s what you do
in the car,
you see what there is to see