Commuting Vehicle

by Jon Ustun

I missed the white hearse this time,
the one with purple flames and devouring mouth,
pointing toward the river,
poised for an explosion forward in a gust of burning oil and screeching tires.

That is not a United Church of Christ hearse
but a Mardi Gras runaway,
on guard for service with Max-Pro shocks,
bad-ass whitewalls and super boost axels.

A grand Land Yacht equipped for water travel,
we will glide down the crashing Susquehanna
cruise over moss, branches, water rocks and rapids,
headlights flashing and horn blasting, blue smoke pouring out.

The river is a deep rumble of crayfish and crystal,
waterfalls and smooth pools,
but we leave behind an oily sheen, an acrid cloud
and a trail of surprised smallmouth bass,
leaping in our wake.

Let my soul ride over the Conowingo Dam,
my Chesapeake paradise calling,
crashing over the spillway heading toward the sea,
floating by cruise ships in the red sunset,
waving to smiling crowds on deck gripping fruity drinks,
all lights flashing with the cassette player blasting
The Grateful Dead, its purple flaming maw gaping water and jellyfish,
eight cylinders churning
the water to a frothy foam.

On second thought, I’m not going to wait.
I’m going to buy that hearse for my daily commute.

— from Juniper Volume 1, Issue 2