for the Season reads the marquee on the Lyric Drive-In closed for the winter though it’s unseasonably warm which I know because the waterfalls frozen en route down the palisades rock walls are thawing to small rivulets while a semi-trailer with airbrushed Ten Commandments tablets and a One Nation Under God flag passes us on 460. I am wearing camo pants to make me less conspicuous as a Jew in West Virginia. I am wearing camo pants for safety (my multiracial family) but I don’t blend at the Bob Evans where everyone is post-church dressy—I forgot it was Sunday and I am melting or worried about the climate apocalypse optimistically with the waitress who brings extra biscuits for my hungry kids or the jolly man in a gray suit who leans across the booths to shout to his friend I’ve seen those grand- daughters of yours and y’all going to have to get guns! Then the yard banner with Trump’s head on Sylvester Stallone’s Rambo body pointing his machine gun at our cars driving toward holiday families and the radio we scan past saying (I swear to god) but there were false prophets also among the people. We all have two faces and one is know Jesus / know peace and the other is the billboard from the Appalachian Christian Center above the one from Southern X-posure Platinum Gentlemen’s Club that says, Don’t be deceived! Evil company corrupts good habits (Corinthians 15:33). We are our own worst enemies—just ask Adultmart, its roof painted with giant white letters: dvd lingerie novelty, as if we were coming by air, as if a store could carry the things we might need to survive the coming eschaton. It’s the first night of Hanukkah and we will stop to light a menorah my son constructed as an art project from washers and old ceramic tile that only holds tiny birthday candles and when the wax runs off the sides like lava or king tides, like rivulets of melting car tires caught in raging wildfires, we won’t even try to stop it.
Erika Meitner is the author of five books of poems, including Holy Moly Carry Me (BOA Editions, 2018), which was the winner of the National Jewish Book Award in poetry, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her next book, Useful Junk, is due out in 2022 from BOA Editions. She is currently a professor of English at Virginia Tech.