Where the road goes.

I drive until my knuckles unclench and I am able to relax my jaw
I drive until the tears come and keep driving
long after they are dry on my cheeks.
I drive past acres and acres of farmland-
barns and silos, houses, separated
fallow fields of turned earth,
swaths of yellow wildflowers,
patches of purple and white flox
freshly mowed grass lawns and stands of forest,
patchy in the distance,
birds perched on the telephone wires
and on the broken stalks of last season’s dead corn.
Brown, yellow, green.
Midwest colors.
I can imagine running towards the distant trees
laughing as I squint my eyes
against the sun hot on my shoulders,
summer dress riding up my thigh in the breeze,
feet flying, plick-plucking their way across field
side-stepping stones and cow droppings-
The freedom and breathless excitement of exploration.

On I drive.

I drive until I am sharing the road with horse and buggy
and I watch the women, in their light colored dresses and bonnets
plow their land and prune their bushes.
I drive until the signs warn me that the road will dead end.
I drive until I can forgive and then rationalize,
acknowledge that forgiveness won’t erase the stain
that the pain of action can linger a long time,
that there are unresolved things
that still need long stretches of road to heal.

I drive until I can breathe easily and reach out.
until I can use smiley face emoji’s and winky emoji’s,
until I can laugh at the absurdity of it all
almost-
I drive until I can at least LOL.
I drive until “the road ends in 500 feet”
and keep going until I find myself, anticlimactically,
in a circle of concrete overlooking an interstate.
I turn around and head back, driving into the sun.

Later, at night, I am full of love and tenderness.
I don’t know where it goes during the day.
Sometimes, I have to drive to find it.

Saying Goodbye

I.
In the field by the barn
where we picked wild fowers
where the grass beyond grows
knee-high to waist
where you rolled down the hill
and let him jump on you
squeals of laughter dancing
through the trees
as I watched from the window
while I completed my
simple domestic tasks
like drying my hair
-how uncountry of me!
This is where we knelt
and wiped away the dirt
to reveal the promise
of a memory.

II.
The country road winds comfortably through the hills,
green and full of Spring,
past barns both new and old
some red and shiny-roofed
some slowly collapsing back to the earth
from whence they sprung
past fields yellow with mustard
that even now, three days later,
seem a bit burnt to my eye-
ripples of yellow once highlighted
in cool air and morning dew
are nowΒ flat and waneΒ under the hot sun.
But perhaps that is the promise of memory too.

III.
It isn’t easy to say good bye
-or “hello”, or “how are you” for that matter.
Everything in life seems to bring its own trials
but standing on this land it is easy
to remember, to hope, to love, to be calm
even when the remembering and the ones we love
can be difficult–
it is easy to breathe in the peace
of the country air.
But it is always hard to say Goodbye


But it is always good to come back home!