When I lived in California
And took an hour-long trip
The freeways were crowded
The strip malls were plenty
And there was a lot to keep my attention
And when the hour was up
You were somewhere totally different

In New Mexico, the roads were straight and sparse
And off to either side
Were stretches of desert
With sage brush, mesquite trees
Junipers, unknown trees
Putting down roots in search of water
Close to the road were erosion-etched red, pink and white stone
There were mountains in the distance
Majestic, sometimes covered on the top with snow
You knew they’d be huge if you were closer
You could see for hundreds of miles in any direction
There were herds of horses, lazy-looping hawks
Maybe if you looked hard enough
You’d see a herd of antelope on a distant slope
Clouds paraded across the brilliant blue sky
And you could see a thunderstorm coming miles away
An hour went by quickly
You even looked forward to the trip back

In Georgia, an hour from my town, the two-lane roads go on forever
Bordered on each side by a swatch of cut grass
And the dense woods of pine trees and kudzu
Barely letting in the light
I look for wildlife but never see any
Except crushed armadillos on the roadside
And there’s always two spaced far apart
Occasionally there are small run-down houses barely visible
Reclaimed by the woods around them
There are signs along the road
Leading you to believe there might be towns if you want to turn
(Always Winder for some reason)
An hour from my house east or west looks the same

The landscape looks as if you never left.
Leave your camera at home
Unless your thing is shooting miles of pine trees and kudzu.
And getting to where you just left.