Last Ride on the Sad Monkey
by David A. McGinnis David A. McGinnis

Dave A. McGinnis currently works as Assistant Professor of Theatre/English at Saint Leo University in Florida, but he was born in Amarillo, Texas. He graduated from Tascosa High School, West Texas A&M University, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and is married to Brook, a graduate of Amarillo High School, West Texas A&M, and UNLV herself. Romeo and Juliet have nothing on such star-crossing, though, as a Rebel and a Sandy engaging in matrimony.

The tracks creak beneath our happy cars,
Linked by
Rust that holds
Through breaking snows
Whipping rain
Unending sun
To carry out their given task:
To shepherd us
Through the canyon.

My Pawpaw lights a Winston
In that careful way you have to in
The Texas Panhandle,
Where the wind don't forgive,
Where you block your lighter
For the sake of the breeze.
Our cars are open air —
Like they should all be —
So Pawpaw can do what he does.

The woman I married sleeps to my right.
She'll wake when the trip is through.
The woman she was sits a seat behind,
Pulling on the left lapel of her
Green corduroy coat
That's just too hot for this
Time of year,
But there she pulls.

The voice of the driver catches my ear
At last:
"If you look just right, you can see there in the cliff…
And that which I dismissed in youth
I weep now to see again,
Except nobody moves
But me,
So I look back over the rolling cars.

A man in a black hat with too small a beard
Just under his bottom lip
Nods to my tear and answers it,
"I played great once,
But you have to be the sky now."
He turns to look south,
Even though the white collar
Of his white shirt
Catches his skin, and he remains silent.

The lanky young man behind and in front him
Leans forward to whisper louder than a highway's call,
"When the wind don't blow in Amarillo,
We can finally decide that it's over."
But I know that the
Amarillo Wind
Will always blow,
And I know their names
And where they fly.

I turn to face forward,
The way Mrs. Burrus told me I should
In first grade.
The driver has thrown down his microphone
Because no one listened anyway,
And once he sits, we all go
Blind in the sun.

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