Watch the Highway

A man come walkin’ into town
With a suitcase in his hand.
It smelt all burnt where he touched the ground
And he reeked of brandy.
“I know your soul,
Like I know my name.”

Well I had just turned seven years,
When the stranger says to me,
“I’ve seen your heart and smelled your fear,
And I’ll take it gladly.
I know your soul.
I know your town and it’s just a shame.”

Well I lived across the old hotel
When the stranger come to town.
He gave me a coin and he wished me well,
The he pulled the shade down.

My Aunt Patrice caught fever
In the middle of the night.
The stranger come and he did relieve her,
Bid me goodnight.

The preacher faced down danger,
On that Sunday in the park.
Said, “State you business stranger,
Don’t pursue it after dark.
I know your soul,
Like I know my name.”

The stranger said, “I’m leaving
And I found the things I need.
Your tithing and your grieving
Won’t undo my ‘pointed deed.
I know your soul.
I know you know it’s just a game.”

The years have gone two dozen,
Since the stranger went away.
Now me and my little cousin,
We just watch the highway.

Know your soul.
Know your name.
Know your town.
Know your shame.


“Watch the Highway” appears on Ghost Stories From Lonesome County.

© and ℗ 1994 Marques Bovre