Down a Dirt Road


Beer. Worms. Ice.

Mom’s Homestyle Cooking.


Fortune Teller.

for sale or lease

Pick ‘n Fluff Laundry.


Palms Trailer Park

peeling aluminum boxes


Motor Court Motel 1938

edition, tiny cabins

beside their cement aprons

painted Southwest pink


but leave that main road

not even a county-numbered

map-named blacktop beauty,

try that faint track— turn off

under the empty billboard

where the high-tension wires

swoop in from Nevada


watch as it rises

to the horizon


past broken fences

barbed wire hanging

loose, dry cow troughs

shot-up cans

broken bottles

a bald tire, discarded metal

strips    engine parts     mining

tools    ranch tools


iron stove

broken bits of someone’s

life left out here to rust.


We mark the starving ghosts

among the detritus

escape to the smooth highway again—

Lotto Here.


Drink Mickey’s

Malt Liquor.

Feed & Grain.

gun show Sunday

Faith Tabernacle daily services—



Emily Strauss has an M.A. in English, but is self-taught in poetry. Over 100 of her poems appear in dozens of online venues and in anthologies. The natural world of the American West is generally her framework; she often focuses on the tension between nature and humanity. She is a semi-retired teacher living in California, from where she often travels alone. Recently her work has appeared (or is pending) in Poetry Quarterly, Scapegoat Review, Similar Peaks, Corvus Magazine, Camas, and ROAR Magazine.