In the mountains of Oregon there is a place
where all the maps go bad. At every exit
you find the gravel parking lots of cheap motels
labeled only “Motel” and deserted gas stations
with dubious picnic areas swarming with ticks.
Every offramp another gate to destruction, trucks
burning brakes and oil fumes in the air.
Ride the breaks, step on the gas, don’t look down,
beware of falling rock, chain your tires.
The falling leaves don’t make the passes any prettier,
and you’re sure you’ve gotten to the bottom
of the mystery when once again your guide tells you
to pull onto a highway that’s no longer there,
an exit that’s disappeared, a road to nowhere.
Beware the electronic voices that guide you.
Photo by Keith Skelton