Both the philosophy student

and the hitchhiker he met ––

she might have been a Julia ––

were trying to find something:


She, her karma; he a good

and honest heart


The born-again couple

who sold them the Packard

swore it would take them

all the way to New Orleans


Julia and he drove through

the fading hills of the Ozarks

until the hoses leaked and

a tire blew them off the road

They left the car slanted on

the shoulder, radiator smoking


Julia joined a commune

near Cape Girardeau

He thumbed back to Kansas City,

found its array of trees

lit by November sun


That year autumn bloomed during

another escalation of the war

in Southeast Asia


Blood was everywhere,

even in the leaves