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The New York State Thruway
by Carole Bugge

An Indian-looking woman serves coffee
   on the New York State Thruway
Outside, boulders line the highway,
    huge rocks with souls
Streams meander, filled with fish
    whose ancestors her ancestors caught,
    consuming the spirit of the animal with the flesh
Inside the restaurant, she hands a plastic packet of Coffeemate
    to a fat man in a pink polyester shirt
   This Is A Non-Dairy Product
   -Can I heat that up for you, Sir?
Outside, the wind howls with the voices
    of ghost tribes passing by
The coffee station shines, metallic under florescent light
The fat man spills a tiny drop of egg yolk on his shirt,
    yellow on pink
Through the mist, white birch and pine, tall and thin,
    stand stiff with unspoken secrets
Tiny raindrops pattern the windows, clear polka dots on glass,
    turning to ice
The boulders are covered in a bed of white ice,
    stolid, solid, wind-sheared rock
Inside, the electric fan begins to whir
    She pours herself a cup of coffee
    Outside, the boulders wait for her.


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