Years passed. I drove by that brick two-story store
somewhere between Demopolis and Camden.
One day I went inside. A pile of boxes on the floor,
Day’s Work tobacco strewn on shelving.

The old man at the plywood counter had a grudge
saved up against the day that I would come,
an unloved uncle criticizing roads I’d traveled;
a hand-lettered cardboard sign: CASH ONLY.

Still, it was somewhere. When I stop at a BP
I think of geometry learned years ago:
intersections at the bridge at I-20 and Hwy. 43
occupying no space, existing only in the abstract.

I agree to the terms of my cardholder agreement
made in the state of Michigan.
A clerk and I wait for a modem to awake in Texas.
Two ripples in a stream of commerce; neither here nor there.

I’ve edited it somewhat, but I first wrote this around 1998.

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