We pass a cemetery at 78 miles per hour, just enough time to see it lit up like an Illinois strip club and wonder who would want their loved ones’ gravestones outlined in red and green bulbs from Big Lots. Not much farther, a single flame burns in the upper window of a derelict farm house, a relic wrapped in the indigo hue of another indifferent night. Motel neon waits patiently for an end to its orange vacancies, while the closest thing to life as we know it stocks up on Red Stag under fluorescent white at a Sac-N-Pac near the state line.

We pay our dues and ditch the funeral procession for a freshly paved turnpike, but all the way down I’m haunted by the lights, the corpse of America at the side of the road.