Zeke Hudson

travelogue (I)

heat pushes through
cracks        in the windows

the narrow ahead        the still trail
into a lake of muddy silver

& gas stations roll by
slowlike        rusted        dried

counters thick with dust
beyond        sagebrush melts

into jaundiced grasses
restless sun-baked dirt

i imagine the first homesteads &
how the air might pull the water

from my skin        how i might
work myself into the soil

rockladen        bleached mica
cutting like diamonds hidden

in eroded buttes        arid pastureland
for cattlehome        fence-cut

roads zig-zag to far-off ranches
waterholes        uranium-cake sun

post-noon glare        deep
on my brow        redding itself

until        until there are no distances
but the ones i feel

from chest to chest        from
lips to ear       no voices        no more

& measure can’t quantify
my warm hands on the wheel

can’t describe the sluggish arcs
of each mountain pass        each

glistening straightaway        each
drying roadside lakebed

spilling skyward        cloud-
forming, haze in the late valley

tires blending sibilants
as tumbleweeds take flight

looking for rest from wind oh
how the west was wonderful

& rainclouds like jellyfish
hunt the hills        darkly


travelogue (II)

in the car           i am trying not to think
about love           instead i cling to

snow-chalked outlines that limn
browning ridges           & steel nets

practicing control on highway-
bound debris           the air chill

on our bright skin           with
speakers rattling           a new album

until the gorge appears right           purpled
in dusk           gradated water

softly           the shadows
from peaks across the lake

& wind-whipped patches matte
the surface           i feel giant

blades churn the still evening           a stoic
farm of white windmills           black

in the night           the west
where heat lives on           by day’s end

clouds coiled           glowing
electric           as stovetop filaments

even as a passenger           this
is the loneliest drive           i am

alien next to a stranger           in a wild
land           where our breaths cut

our lungs           the heat from the vents
cuts our lungs           condensation cuts

through the chest           & further
my eyes water           from feeling

cold           the roadside all
softly green from hard grasses

hiding themselves           under fog
blankets          in one field           sheep

in one           goats           i saw & also
the stony facade of a failing wall

& gaping dead windows           but
as we passed           abandoned rails

the steel veins of industry
the lifeblood of culture

i could never feel so small
on my own           i could describe

each travelogue           as closure
or as willingness           to be swept

in the fires           that come only
in summers           & lick hotly

the pines           eyes open           parting
i am still not thinking           of love


Zeke Hudson is an MFA student at Boise State University, where he watches sports and eats too much pizza. His most recent work appears in West Wind Review and Stolen Island. His chapbook, Blue Lake, is available from Thrush Press.