i should have planned ahead.
should have known it would end up this way.
i should have taken notes, sketched landmarks. left breadcrumb trails and taken cartography classes. there have been so many long roads. shortcuts i took only when my palms would itch at the thought of detour. people could benefit from that sort of atlas, i think. the record of backroads we managed to take, one end to the next, with or without disaster. people need that kind of information.
people need to know which road always washes out by which stand of trees. which day week month you can be sure to see which creatures behind which shadows. people ought to be able to make informed decisions.
i have some information.
i know that ten-mile stretch where you can turn your radio dial to the in-between station and be guaranteed to hear a song that will break your heart. i know about the woman who leaves hot biscuits on the bench by her mailbox. i don't know who she leaves them for. i assume they're for me, because they're always there, always hot.
i could tell you about the dirty old dog whose feet smell like toast, who loves to sleep in my cab from the town with the trees to the one with the water. she waits for me on the bank until i swing by to bring her back to the shade of sweeping branches.
there's the one stretch, the wide plain between the sun on the tallest tree, and the moon on the smallest hill, where i roll down my windows and holler out whatever old songs come into my head. that's how i first met the toast dog - she heard me singing and came running through the brush, hot biscuit in her mouth swiped from the bench down the way.
i taught myself how to sing on these roads. and i've memorized poems, long wordless tributes to the women i've loved. i especially like the poems i've written for the woman i've only seen once, 50 miles fast past, she never even knew i was here.
i should have been more forward thinking. known how much it would be needed. everyone needs a map. and if i'm the first one on these roads, or the first with a pen handy, i'm doing you all a disservice sitting in my truck, humming, eating biscuits, tracking the movements of the sky, when i should have been telling you what i know.
Originally published: "Trucker's Atlas." Thread and Bead. Kristin Berger, 16 01 2010. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://kristinberger.wordpress.com/2010/01/16/truckers-atlas-by-favor-ellis/>.
“Trucker's Atlas.” VoiceCatcher. 4. (2009): 70-71. Print.