On a virtually cloudless Sunday morning,
I traversed the state of Florida
On a tollway known as Alligator Alley.
Dewy spiderwebs sparkled
On sturdy cyclone and barbed wire.
Behind this cypress, palms, and pines
Gave way to amazingly vast expanse,
God terrie’d in swamp grass
Long enough to dump a wetland
Called the Everglades.
Down the fence lined lane,
Feeling like a penal colony guest,
I drove more than an hour before
Welcomed by a rest area.
In the shade of a gazebo
I chopped a tomato and
Smashed an avocado,
I quickly drowned in buttermilk.
Blinding sun rose towards zenith.
Riders rallied round the restroom,
Strolled the grounds,
Finding respite from the road.
Savoring my salad,
Dreading the final miles,
Under the pavilion I sat.
A fine family of foreigners,
Speaking a language,
I don’t know
Joined me under my canopy.
Without looking my way or
Acknowledging my presence,
All five lit cigarettes
Apparently with no regrets.
Having been flatulent all day,
I couldn’t think of a better way
To say so long than to go up wind,
To huff and puff and hold my breath,
To pass gas that smelled like death.