heading south

you can tell them going along when it gets hotter

you’re letting water out the whole time

so you gotta let lots of water in

have a liter bottle the whole two pints

& when that empties fill it up again

keep the cycle going else you start making poor choices

& they nod along to the sage advice

wondering just when it was you became crazy

so you do it yourself to make the show

& of course like all good advice gets left by the roadside

two days in you find one stuck staring at the gas station cashier

unable to tell her which gas pump he wants to pay for

you sort that for him & now he resents you

for being clever & knowing Spanish Cuatro for four

he’s thirsty he says reaches out for cold beer

make it water you say soft we got another hundred to ride

oh fuck you & your water he says I need to drink

as you walk out into the sun saddle up & go

he drifts further & further back as you wonder in those miles

just where & when it was you turned into a nagging granny

herding this ragged pack of unthinking thirsty cats

that night he won’t eat sits with beer & chocolate bars

& in the morning complains his ass is bleeding

& lord you want to tell him why but know clear

that will only start a fight & wait a while knowing what will come

I think I might turn back he says I’ve had enough of this sun

& you think back to the colder happier northern nights

you all sat together looking at maps sorting this run

& the friendship you had there once is over

as poor decisions grow into bad decisions over not enough agua


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