The ocean is wide but the road is only
as long as an upturned truck
swaddled in flames.
To one another they refer to
themselves as pilgrims,
though their devotion to the pastoral is conditional,
like the words of a ballad
revered more for the violence of the room
than for the persistence of its intentions.
These words are percussive.
Not staccato like pistol fire,
or the peals of an autoharp,
but lilting in the canon,
bending as wine does in the mirror.
The sequence though is out of order.
Water stranded in the mouth
that cannot be swallowed.
There is sawdust in the lungs.
Bryan D. Price teaches history at a community college in the suburbs of southern California where he writes about memory, time, nature, utopia, and its opposite. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM and Unbroken Journal.