One afternoon in thick fog and summer
rain, I climbed out of a preacher's car
near Parkersburg, draped
my orange poncho over me and drifted
north like a bobbing traffic cone.
I hitched your river road toward
Martin's Ferry where the beautiful
autumn bodies threw themselves
at each other in the suicidal lights.
I never made it that time. Night
fell in Sistersville and an old woman
who harbored runaways, kids whose
fathers beat them and suffered other
sundry problems, called me off the street,
gave me a meal and a place to sleep.
The next moming I said enough
to homage and hitched into the valley
and the refrigerator that waited for me there.
I knew where to find you.
Time was still on my side.