To Roanoke with Johnny Cash
Mist became rain became fog was mist
reborn every few miles on a road
made of s and z, of switchback
and falling into mountains of night
would have been easy and who
would have known until flames
and nobody, even then. I played his life
over and over, not so much song
as moan of a needle and the bite,
the hole it eats through the arm
and drove faster to the murmur
of this dead and crow-dressed man,
voice of prison and heroin and the bible
as turned by murdering hands.
And the road was the color of him
and the night was blind but the mist
turned blaze in headlights as I haunted
myself with one of the last songs
he sang, about what else, about pain
and death and regret and the fall
that was the soul of the man.
Johnny Cash "Hurt"