Jane Hoogestraat, "Alt Country"
How in Steve Earl’s music you smell the dust,
Texas in August, lawns long ago crisped,
a permanent Vacancy sign blinking wind,
an abandoned movie theater, stale taste
of time so old you could still smoke there,
dry headache lasting all day, red hibiscus
cloying afternoon glare, 104 degrees at 3:13,
I-35 unrolling an emptiness you thought
to leave behind years ago, some part of a soul
you pawned knowing you would not return,
afternoons that come October you will not
be wishing back, not like that, ever.