ABANDONED CARS ON I-40, NORTH CAROLINA
All adorned with orange stickers
numbered like yard sale tickets,
or deer tagged and spared
from a stare down the barrel
of a gun. Some with twisted
white tee’s hanging from rolled-up
windows, as if to say I’ll be back
soon, or, Here is the wick, light me.
Most are moved within a day, but some
sit for weeks. Look for the familiar
4-door blue, crumpled bumper, BITEME
vanity plate, raw tire rims, faded yellow
racing stripe—mile markers
overgrowing with roadside weed.
Where are their people now?
A mile down the road, thumb hitched
and tie beating in the wind. Walking
through tall grasses away from town.
Maybe they never left—simply pulled
over, unbuckled their seatbelt, crawled
to the floorboard, and closed their eyes so tired
and let themselves take root—their hair tangled
in door handles, skin melded with leather,
lips crystalized with lost French fry salt.
I want to stop and press my face to the glass,
slip inside next to their cicada shell
bodies, become something so empty.
I haven’t stopped yet. Still waiting
for the right day to join them—
open the door and disappear.
Caroline Parkman Barr is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where she served as Poetry Editor of The Greensboro Review. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in RHINO, NELLE, South Carolina Review, North Dakota Quarterly, Connotation Press, The Hunger, and elsewhere. She is currently an editorial assistant for Poetry Northwest living in Birmingham, Alabama.
Despy Boutris is a writer. Her work is published or forthcoming in American Poetry Review, American Literary Review, Southern Indiana Review, Copper Nickel, Colorado Review, The Adroit Journal, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. Currently, she teaches at the University of Houston, serves as Editor-in-Chief of The West Review, and works as Assistant Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast.