for the young woman with the vanity license plate CARRION
I passed a car in Tennessee,
expecting Goth kid with sulking stare,
but what I got was more flower child,
a college-aged girl with brilliant smile
who was singing along to something
(Widespread Panic? Phish? The Dead?)
as if the music were distilled joy.
She turned and waved as I passed.
She wanted me to persevere, I guess,
as I guess she’d tried to pledge herself.
The Y had been taken when she applied,
and so she’d settled for the I instead.
It took dominion in my head.
She hadn’t been saying that she’d be dead
someday, though she will, as will you and me
and everything else in Tennessee.