Mission Station – by William LaPage

I remember when we were first cut
in the off season from the island’s
from the hotel bars, with all the drinks
we could afford. So long as we stayed in back
and didn’t trouble the waitress. So long
as we paid cash and left by the backdoor.
We closed the place out in the foreglow
morning overcast, stumbled over the broken
palmetto fronds, youth fashioned
patently in sunglasses. Hotel-hopping,
we never slept in the same suite twice.
Or we camped on the dunes, under
a rain-scented umbrella orphaned by the wind
when the deposit on the room
over the bodega ran out. Our futures remote
as what we equate with the pumpjacks
sawing the horizon to dust, fields of supplicants
to their recompense. And far ahead we watched
the miles-long train trace and vanish
into the winecolored daubs of the river valley.
So we go because our going is boundless, because
I remember when the peppertrees blossomed,
late as August, along the two-lane blacktop,
past the mainland dwellings, broken bottle glass
tarred atop their walls, fine as razors,
desolate as the ride back to the station.


William LaPage is the author of several chapbooks and a fiction collection. Most recently his writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Flock, The Bangalore Review, New Note Poetry, The Awakenings Review and others. He currently teaches at Missouri State University.