We stop at Biscuit World
on the way home from my father’s funeral.
Leave the flatlands of North Carolina, cross
the border into the Virginia highlands,
drive up and up into the mountains
of West Virginia.
He drove these same curved roads,
two-lane highways bordered
by fast-food chains and discount stores.
Drove these same roads from Monday
to Friday, peddling cheap furniture
crafted in factories near the small southern town
of his childhood, a prison of a town
where the very air penned him in.
Biscuit World was disappointing.
Flimsy plastic trays, sticky tables,
We drive further north, on our way
to Pittsburgh, the highway flowing
through forests of pine and oak,
interspersed with layers of rock, bodies
of dead deer.
I stare out the window, read road signs
that flash by:
Whisper Mountain, Blackwater Falls,
Muddelty, Sweet Memories Antique Mall.
A sign for historic asylum tours
and billboards proclaiming God’s love.
I try to remember the sound of my father’s voice.