Houck’s Hexadecagon There’s a round building in Houck that ran out of luck— a pancake house off old 66 where in ‘04 I once had breakfast during a cross country Greyhound trip, buying up postcards en route to Vallejo a decade before she would become my home. My first conscious stop on the highway that officially died on the day I turned two. Her ghost haunts the landscape with its memories of an America before carbon copycat corporate chain culture. These days towns are just names on a sign— a blur flashing past on the interstate in a sea of gas stations and fast food joints. The restaurant now lies in ruins, having closed not long after my visit. Rusted, scarred, and tagged, she is a husk— her former culinary glory now only a whisper in the memories of travelers past. One day she shall fade into desert dust, her hexadecagon decades gone, forgotten in the unforgiving sands of time. Left speechless upon this return visit I silently agree with the graffiti left by some anonymous scribe that no human being is illegal on stolen land, and heed the highway who beckons me home.
D.L. Lang served as Poet Laureate of Vallejo, California (2017-2019). She is the author of thirteen books, and one spoken word album. Her poems have been published in numerous anthologies worldwide.