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Laughter, part two

“A journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet”
    ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 64

We’d started corresponding
With my personal ad
Then had fallen out of touch
While I hung out in somebody else’s courtroom
By now she’d moved back to rural Arkansas
Would I make the trip
Why not
The day before I hit the road
Her photo arrived in the mail
She was easily twice my weight
No matter
Love can shape people up

Nowadays a journey of a thousand miles
And back
Begins beneath one’s wheels
I made it there in a day
Crashed on her sofa
Next day met her friends BBQing outside
It was a weekend
I hardly knew what we might discuss
That might interest any of them
Why would they care
About science fantasy philosophy humanity
Infinity
Maybe music would do
But none of them played an instrument

We talked about trucks
And the etiquette of the road
This was a community
Where these things mattered
Salt of the earth
I was reminded of my rural roots
The farm being still my home
Maybe they laughed with me
Not at me
But what else had we in common

I’d changed the oil before leaving
Did it again upon returning
To no avail
Two journeys of a thousand miles
In three days across three states’ heat and back
Are beyond a budget engine that
Barely working anymore
Was just able to get back on the highway
To where they sat considering
She offered me the new car
That’d just known a collision
That’d caught the dealership’s awareness
They couldn’t trade it well
I said it was too much
Yet I didn’t have money for another
He never said a word
Until I realized I couldn’t drive the old one
To my place
And had but one sensible choice
Though no love had shaped her up
Her wheels became mine
For the next seventeen years
And I don’t know how many miles
Because the odometer gave out
Around the time it got its second engine
People may laugh at my paying
To keep it up
Without that laughter
It wouldn’t be the same car

Thanks always returns

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