some place (any place) between 39° 19' N  102° 02' W,  and 41° 33' N   83° 39' W

husked \ həskt\ (adjective); stripped of the husk

we drive through the centre of this continent, which resembles the centres of most continents; bleached land bleeding into blanched sky.

we drive through a series of straight states- states so straight they are likely induce a cardiac arrest in an unsuspecting truckie (if you die today, which will it be, the billboards probe, heaven or hell? call 150-FOR-TRUTH)

we drive through an entirely linear landscape, with the exception of our shadow of course, which is parralellogramming all over the place, as shadows are want to do.

we drive.

...

a boy, maybe thirteen, lopping about in pants and shirt and shoes too big. he is beautiful, in the way that most boys on the cusp of puberty are. his eyes (one green one brown) cloud with confusion when I ask for a product that (given the store did not have beans or parsley or cabbage or avocado) I really should have known better than to ask for.

never heard of it,

he muses, unabashed; then-

you from france?

he goes to check with his manager anyway, and returns with an apology:

sorry ma’am, we don’t got no tofu here.

...

on the horizon of kansas: a giant, obscene pink dome obstructs our view, taking up a third of our windscreen

i mouth it's name three times, and on the third time, it lifts and rises in red fury from the earth in response

the moon the moon the moon

kansas, your moon is a moon that demands to be howled at

to be danced u’neath

to be sung to

to be worshiped

to be feared

to be painted

to be fucked under

to be given its own slot (fire all its flimsy sparkling co-stars, get them off the stage!)

kansas, your moon is a moon that demands the slavery of oceans, and tonight we are awfully glad to be landlocked in the god forsaken centre of this bleached and blanched country.

...

the checkout at a small town grocery store.

the girl bagging, all puppy fat and bright eyes and flush, notices something strange (perhaps the lack of frozen meat snacks going into our bags)

you from around here?

no, i'm from australia actually.

oh wow, i never spoke to anyone from australia before...

.... you all here to see the worlds largest rocking chair?

...

i lost my sunglasses a few weeks ago.

years down the line, when they remove the cataracts from my eyes, the surgeon will give a small snort of surprise, and comment that each yellowed milky blob bears a remarkable resemblance (in shape and colour) to an ear of corn.