Volume 25, Number 2

Lost in America

I was driving down the mountain on LSD
after a weekend away from my psychiatric
aide job, the only job that made sense to me
in the small town of Atwater. I’d made
the enlightened choice of heading home
still tripping, was keeping a close eye
on the speedometer and the cop car
creeping up behind like a big
black & white beetle with a red hat.
Panicking, I peered into the rear view mirror
and sure enough the little red hat was flashing,
so I pulled over along the side of the road.

The Sheriff ambled towards my window,
began talking excitedly, though in horror
I realized I wasn’t understanding English
very well. But his face looked familiar
to my dilated pupils as I focused on
the hieroglyphic sound his lips made,
heard him thanking me for all the help
I’d given him a few months ago
when he’d cracked up and landed in the psych ward
after the alcohol and pain pills and suicidal
leanings. How he’d pulled me over just to say
Hello. Whether he knew how high I was
I’ll never know, but he tipped the brim
of his stiff hat towards me, winked, and
sent me on my way—as I laser-focused
my psychedelic eyes on the broken white lines
of a country where I could no longer tell
the lost from the found.

—Dane Cervine