A crudely drawn map of the western US with a trail of crossed-off cities, drawn inside the cover of a book by Faust, which sits on the seat of a car.

Photos credit Wikipedia:Foto H.-P.Haack and Unsplash.com

Every time the phone rings it’s time to pack up
and go to a new city.
Everything I own goes into a duffel bag;
a couple of changes of clothes,
a can opener,
some matches,
a flashlight and batteries,
and the copy of Faust
that I’m perpetually almost finished reading.
Then it’s time to hit the road
for anywhere
that the phone isn’t ringing.

There is no noise
as I wander the streets
of downtown somewhere.
When the gas tank is getting low
I drive to a dealership
and find a new set of keys
to a Mazda
or a minivan
or something that gets good mileage
before it’s time to move on to the next city.

For my twenty-sixth birthday
I wished for more time to read
and fourteen days later
I awoke to find
I was the only person left.
It wasn’t that everyone was dead
or at least the bodies weren’t lying around
but rather everything was still
and quiet
and they were all gone.

Months later my greatest fear is
the car breaking down between cities
or possibly finding out
where everyone went.

Although the produce sections of America
are beginning to rot away
there is still plenty to eat
because I am the only one eating
except for the animals
who slowly are taking back their ancestral lands
but they don’t care for the foodstuffs of grocers
although once a large cat
stalked me through a canned goods aisle
In Des Moines
two weeks before the power went out there
for good
and I drove a shiny Harley Davidson
to wherever is east of there,
where it will be quiet for a few days
until once again my reading time is interrupted
by the nearby ringing of a phone.