Dream Date

© 2001 Katherine Williams
"Dream Date" appears in
Mischief, Caprice, and Other
Poetic Strategies

Terry Wolverton, Ed.
Granada Hills, CA: 
Red Hen Press (2003)

This is a "twenty projects" poem. “Lot lizard” is slang for a truck-stop prostitute. A “sleeper” is a long-haul tractor with a small cabin behind the cockpit, considered deluxe.
Day paints her nails red before slipping on
one black fishnet stocking, then the other.

Desert wind teases her cloud hair
till it mirrors her distraction.
Sunlight is the slip beneath her hem,
her music the baying of wolves.
Taste of moon on her lips,
with morning dew she perfumes her wrist.

Her finish is so close, she can hear treetops
breathing on her fingertips.

Ready at last, she decides
that King Chango’s in Peach Springs, Arizona
is the place to go
but she’s not ready,
she’ll never be ready.

The trucker, hauling trees,
approaches her hitch-hiking The Ten in Walnut—
reckons he’s seen lot lizards
looking better put-together than that
Now that dog don’t hunt!, he mutters
into the CB radio to no-one.

She looks like one of those days
that start out perfectly fine,
but then grind to a halt when you floor it.

She’s made up her face in the wrong looking-glass—
the classical mirror of introspection—
while in his rear-view he sees nothing,
not even the broken line behind him on the road.

Up ahead of him, Day’s rosy thumb beckons
as she practices the rhumba along the center divider,
so he reaches out the window,
scooping her up by the waist,
at eighty miles an hour,
with both hands still on the wheel.

What a vision, his passenger, as she recounts
the work she’s done, the people she’s been!

The Druid, who’d danced with her
on Le Presqu’├«le de Quiberon just after dawn,
showers mistletoe on the late-model Volvo sleeper.

Poor dumb trucker, he muses,
will be dancing on the head of a pin, talking nonsense,
with his arms around a beautiful cadaver
once the stars’ heavy shadows finish her off.

And so we see him, his truck over the side,
trees and midnight scattered everywhere,
his tears wetting the match
as he laughs with the Druid over a cigarette,
wondering who she was and where she went.

C’est la guerre, the CB radio reminds them in English
—except the radio is off—
the tractor lies on its side in the woods,
and Day dwindles
to a scarlet fingernail of moon low in the west.