The Fare

by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

it took nine days
to wise up
sit in back
wear shades
fake read fake sleep
act like a fare

the driver suffered from
flap jaw: “how many cows
did we have – oh, look
another black dog –
it’s suppose to be
nice this weekend
for the Tin Dusters”

the back seat was cold
I was sad, stressed,
sick—my blood sugars
stalled in the 200s

“do you have calves
this time of year – how many
acres – what do you grow  –
hey, look, there’s a Tin Duster”

he’s bored
with the long drive
and sad fare
and he hums
under his breath
aimless notes

sometimes when
I fake sleep
or fake read or real read
he turns on country music
someone’s leaving someone
then Christian talk radio
someone’s crucifying someone
—I can hear my left eye
inciting mutiny

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