Juke Box
Roger D. Jones

A dime, I recall, kicked off
the methodical buzz-clunk-chunk sound
as the chosen music
selected from a horizontal stack,
whisked nimbly upward, flipped
flap-jack-like, and sat down on the turning spindle,
upon which Elvis crooned “Love Me Tender”
Pat Boone sang “Moody River”
or Connie Francis warbled “Where the Boys Are”
and road songs mixed with platter-clink and semi
back-brake somewhere down fallen Highway 82
along one especially ruinous
sparsely populated basalt gypsum stretch
beyond Dallas,             
the other side of the Caprock.

We’d finish our plate of BLT, or over-easy eggs
and blueberry pancakes, then one more
song for the road – Rick Nelson “Travelin’ Man,”
Nelson Riddle “Theme to Route 66” –
and we’d leave a half-drunk cup of ace-black coffee
and a quarter tip for the waitress,
head again down that long straight narrow,
aimed at a burning star,
and follow hot road stripes
spearing miles through our eyes,
while we hummed tunes of open space,
robotic, endless and easy.

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