end of the line

A highway never meant to survive
a nuclear war draws a line
from the JC Penney Museum
through three childhoods –
Pershing, Disney, Twain –
before it joins Eisenhower’s system
on the other side of the Mississippi
with the unthinkable in mind
and barrels through Lincoln’s home town
toward the end of the line.

This is what Ike imagined
on the far side of Armageddon.
Pavement is a diversion. Washington

is a sideshow.
The end of the line lies
in Carson County alongside
the Woody Guthrie Memorial Highway,

and this broken city scattered
by wind on the plains is the day after.

©Steven Schroeder

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