Foam clusters on sooty water.
In for seven minutes,
something like silt or grounds forms a layer on the surface,
collars our necks black.
A charcoal swipe on Tyler’s chin,
our faces streaked.
The salesman slides in next to Mary,
shoving me over a nozzle that gouges a watery jet in my flank.
I look up at Tyler.
Mary says she doesn’t want a drink without booze
till she’s the hell out of French Lick—
from the goddamn smell of sulfur!
I rest my head against bullnose cement,
and close my eyes:
the sound of the motor
fills my ears,
breaking up like gravel in a tumble dryer.
A bead of moisture trickles down my face. The salesman grabs my shoulder;
we’ve been in long enough.
Standing under shower heads,
grit streams down pale bodies.
Coming here this morning,
Mary gets lost in the national forest.
She is so upset that we have to stop
so I can drive
to a diner and get us directions.
While I’m inside,
Mary puts the top down,
walks around to the driver’s side
and gets in.
The charcoal interior exhales in sunlight.
The red paint, so red
I feel weak.
Mark Parsons has had poems published in Indiana Review, Curbside Splendor, Smalldoggies, Poetry Quarterly, Sierra Nevada Review, heavy Feather Review, Regarding Arts and Letters, Emprical, and elsewhere.