The dark hung heavy above me, in an apartment on the edge of town, at an hour when night and morning had called a brief truce, and I was thinking I’d rather be anywhere but here, rather be driving the back roads of Illinois
at dusk with nowhere to be, rather sing hallelujah on the banks of the Mississippi in Memphis, rather fall from grace in St. Louis, rather lose my nerve at a sidewalk cafe in Iowa City, rather feel anointed under the bar lights
in Minneapolis and stumble drunk back to my hotel room alone, rather wake up forgetting who I was in Sioux Falls, rather feel the cold snow stinging my cheeks in downtown Topeka,
rather pace like a caged animal amid the slots of a Tulsa casino, rather get lost driving through the prairie
west of Amarillo and have the guy behind the gas station counter laugh
when I ask for directions,
rather have expensive cocktails at a rooftop party in Santa Fe while listening to artists argue about sincerity, rather ascend body and soul in Boulder, rather lock my key in my room in Salt Lake City,
rather have a glimpse of perfection in Cheyenne,
rather feel the warm breeze with the windows
down as I speed past Reno’s neon bulbs, rather see the morning fog burning off above the trees in wine country near Sonoma,
rather taste the salt as I dive head-first into the Pacific at Big Sur, rather turn the car around in San Francisco and point it east toward the future, rather drive and drive and drive, rather withstand wave after wave of American dreams as I head back, almost home but not yet, still plenty of time to wonder what’s next, still plenty of time to imagine who I’ll be until the day I die.
Adam Gibbs is a writer and poet originally from Sidney, Ohio. His poetry has appeared in Fourth and Sycamore and been honored by the Hayner Cultural Center and Tipp City Arts Council. His novella Dumb Luck is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press. He currently lives in Grove City, Ohio, with his wife Lindsay and their daughter Clara.