Issue Forty-Four - Summer 2024

Love’s Truck Stop

By Gayle Kaune

When we stop for gas in Bakersfield
I order a biscuit with sugar
but really, it’s a donut. Once a year
I allow myself this treat
and while it’s not the same as dancing,
I can recycle memories of youth
there amidst the glass case of crullers.

It is a cruel thing to eat a sprinkle-donut
amidst the smell of gasoline,
to hold it in its square of waxed paper
while turning the squeaky, metal
display tree of Christian books:
A time for pursuing a new life
in Jesus.
I want a new life
dancing, not sitting in an easy chair.

It took me a long time to master
the faux leather recliner
here, at our rental condo: pull a lever
and the foot rest jumps out,
but how to get it to go back?

I fight against putting my feet
up, eating crullers, becoming indulgent,
but there are moments when it’s a ritual:
standing in the aisle of a Love’s
truck stop in Bakersfield,

surrounded by candy bars,
stuffed animals, little trolls to hang
from your rear view mirror
all designed to remind you

hang in there, keep driving,
don’t eat too many donuts.
There is an entire display of people
who love you, spinning, waiting,
for you to come home.

Copyright 2024 Kaune