High Road

boy leaves home or girl
leaves home,
satchel shouldered or scaly partner clinging,
seeking no-cost transport,
some way to get to the big show,
grit-eyed from the draft of a
hundred robotransports before one stops,
ramshackle or shiny;
something leers out,
casts a line as old as runaways,
something that won’t take “I’d rather walk” for no,
that smiles and smiles like they do,
turns off the high way at a little place it knows,
meanwhile, our protagonist, hungry
and thin, thirsty and hot,
has a secret talent/power/fear/shame,
surprise, let’s go with that,
wrong species/rank in the food web/scent
and something rises up to beat on/rape/eat our
hero/ine who, somehow, turns the table over,
setting its young feet/pseudopods/etc
on Destiny’s road …
now THAT’S a good story, tell me that one
again and you’re hired/spared/paid/released/allowed to die.

—David C. Kopaska-Merkel