Stuck in Austin Traffic with the ghost
of Scott Wannberg on I-35 South

By Robert Wynne

You notice that they renamed the lake. As if
water didn’t have enough problems
carrying the expectations of Christians
on its shiny surface, now it has to suffer
the specter of assassination and bluebonnets
as a legacy. Ladybird was lucky enough
to seed the highways without anyone
questioning the viability of her husband’s presidency
because she knew that blooms open
in infancy each year despite the beliefs
of conspiracy theorists and democrats.
Your dog Sparky barks his reluctant approval
as we inch along toward Riverside, questioning
each line on the highway, reflector after reflector
fixed in place like an assumption
that Bott’s Dots know better
than every driver fumbling forward
in the capitol of Texas. Rick Perry weeps
when he realizes how language fixes intention
in its gaping maw. The future owes itself
to the sad past, minute by minute,
and you chuckle at the irony, remembering
how this country endured 8 years of denial,
as if logic was too busy clearing brush
to be bothered with our daily lives.
There’s a hootenanny in heaven
and you’re leading the squaredance.
Still, you hold the microphone gingerly
because you know the seatbelt
in my Sonata is less forgiving
than Congress after a recess,
but your laugh still echoes
across dry plains, and into
all the adjacent lands which are proud
to be part of the United States
and which understand that liberty
is more than just the name
of a stripper in Philadelphia.