Hitch

A wind was slavering our faces
when we ditched our dignity
and stuck out our paunches of thumb.
I blamed the service. You blamed
the three years since we'd had one.

The further we walked, the more
it looked like the wreck it was.
But you have to look back when hitching:
over your shoulder, you measure
the metres you've covered,
as if you were gauging a quarrel -
how question and answer
recede from each other, quickly.

The grey man who picked us up
plunked his tongue like a banjo,
expected nothing but nods and grunts.
He was confidential, like a chaplain
encouraging congregations
to tickle a trout of a whisper.

Both of us paid. We left
on the freeway, by different doors.
No waving goodbye. We stumbled
into utterly separate sunsets.

From the book Love Poems