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
first one black fishnet stocking, then the other.
She has a lot on her mind.
Desert wind teases her cloud hair.
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 evening
on the treetops through her fingertips.
Now that she’s ready, she decides
that King Chango’s in Peach Springs,
Arizona, is the place to go
but she isn’t ready—she’ll never be ready.
The trucker, hauling trees,
can see that even from a distance
as he approaches her hitch-hiking the Ten in Walnut—
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 mirror—
the classical mirror of introspection—
while in his rear-view he sees nothing,
not even what is behind him on the road.
Eighty yards up ahead, Day
has her thumb out as she practices
the rhumba along the center divider,
and the trucker reaches his arm out the window,
scooping her up by the waist
at eighty miles an hour
with both hands still on the wheel.
What a vision she is as she tells him
all the things she’s seen,
all the people she’s been!
The Druid, who had been dancing with her
just after dawn back on Le Presqu’Île de Quiberon,
showers mistletoe onto 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 there 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
—only the radio is off—
the tractor is on its side in the woods,
and Day dimished
to a scarlet fingernail of moon low in the west.