In my Toyota on Route 32
near Farragut, we stopped
for chicken. We knew the hills
were waiting. When the waitress
went away, all that pine and oak
remained, and she asked about Memphis,
this girl who was suddenly my wife.
But it was Mars to me, past all those pickups
and side-routes west. I had a lot to learn
about being married: that she liked Elvis,
that she looked at pictures of Graceland
when she was twelve years old
in her Istanbul apartment. We danced,
she said, my father and I, while Mom
was drying the dishes. I told her
there wasn’t time, but as she slept
in the Motel 6 in Knoxville that night,
I sneaked out to the Chevron station
for cigarettes and an Elvis Golden Hits
cassette. I was careful not to wake her.
I turned the door-key very slowly.
We had a long ride the next day.