The cat hides under a brown paper bag.
Sits on yellowing grass, yet to be diagnosed
with drought, alcoholism, or unemployment.

I arrive, a coughed-up tumbleweed, an exhale
in the motorway’s purr. A dusty van door
that reads Lick me. Inside the gas station/

deli, crumbs of air pile between aisles of neon
orange attempts at cheese & crackers. White
bread is sealed in plastic like moist fingers

wrapped in flesh-toned band-aids.
A sticky floor and a gumball machine selling
vintage coins. I’ve been told there’s a difference

between a lottery ticket and rabid deer, between
a bathtub full of crushed ice and capitalism, between
a piss-colored toilet seat and a toilet seat

covered in piss. The smell of boiled hot dogs
and cigarette smoke with an expiration date
of April 1, 1982: the day the exit sign

fell from the overpass and landed on the man
and his pregnant wife. The day before the rain stopped
and the meteorologist lost his job, too.