My mother’s denial


can only be compared to the scent
of my Uncle Pete’s Delta 88
the night he hit a skunk.

Dizzy. Nauseous. Breathing
into a pillow. All across
Tennessee and Arkansas —

a warning for speeding
in Paducah, the orange-lit
on-ramps of Memphis,

the flooded fields of Jericho —
my mother in the front seat
refusing to acknowledge it.