Escape from L.A.

We left
the San Fernando
Valley at midnight,
my 10-year-old,
1951 soy-bean
black Mercury
fat with eight-
track tapes and
cigarettes.
We downshifted
to struggle up
the winding 5
towards Palmdale,
and finally,
when we arrived
at the full distance
where city lights
no longer dampened
darkness,
we slowed right
onto a nameless
low-desert road
where, with headlights
off, all around
the night revealed
itself alone.
Along the far horizons
the hazy, worldly glow:
the distant City of the
Angels, or was it really
a lone Exxon station
impressing itself
through the foggy mask
that, in our minds,
turned all light
into imagined places
from where we made
some brave escape,
fooled by eternity,
courageous, yet afraid
for ourselves
to be called home?

Don Cadwallader

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