Later, the dusk light rolls back
over the low hills by the highway
where sheets of soybeans and cotton
spread out like bedclothes
slept in and shuffled.
Lying across the bench front seat,
her head resting on his thigh,
she asks him solemnly,
if he thinks her breasts are getting bigger,
and he continues petting the soft
bare hillock of one of them,
her dress undone and pushed down
over her stomach, a box of fries balanced
among its red and orange folds.
Theyíve always been very nice, he tells her.
On a rise punctuating the border
between fields they pass a shack,
barely a room, tucked in the negligible
shadow of a copse of young pine,
a place like a wound in the smooth
and uniform crop. Someone is there:
she knows it with certainty,
though nothing moves,
and there are no panes in the windows,
and a thin wild grass grows long
through the ancient ruts of the drive.
She knows it. Some tired person
is stopped there, has walked off
the roadside to rest on the broken floor.
I canít stop eating, she says
and sets the fry box, empty,
in the takeout bag and neither of them speak.
He teases a nipple to attention.
After a minute he stops
and she cranes her slender neck back at him.
You could tell me Iím not, she says.
Earlier in the hotel she asked him
to tell her, and he said nothing,
only turned on the television.
Later still she slides her feet to the floorboard
and ties the halter of the dress on her nape
beneath her long blonde freshet
of hair, and in the last light
they drive further into Tennessee,
past a series of dilapidated barns
and yards strewn with the shells of autos,
over the darkening torsos of rivers
with their somnolent Indian names.
George David Clark
is the waiter with a book in his pocket at the Olive Garden in Little Rock.
He recieved his BA from Union University, and this fall he will begin an MFA at UVA in Charlottesville. His work is
currently also represented on the web at Southern Gothic Online.