notes from the road: Delaney with a friend

To preserve the privacy of the other party, this one comes sans photo. Delaney’s still on the road in California. She writes, “Today’s poem is brought to you via five years of ride or die friendship… you are my rock and we might be nuts but we are totally the good kind. Thank you so much for your time in my life.”

Glow of ice on the dark maples,
shape of a blue fish in the clouds,
hum of tires, stutter of the car radio.
You know the highway is kindly,
the curve of it, your family at the end of it,
the lull of the wheels, the sudden view
of a mill town dropped among the trees
thin as eyelashes, and the buildings,
small heaving chest with breaths
of smoke. And a sudden tenderness
fills you for the idea of people,
their wills and habits, the machinery
of their kindness, the way meals are
served with salt and with a spoon.
And you think of them as birds
driven by some wind, and such mercy
passes that it makes you weep for it
and soon you can’t see the road
for the awful kindness of it, and
the idea of you, your name vanishes
leaving you so alone that you must reclaim
it as fast as you can in thought,
that dark Birds circling over
the road until you are lost, or found
again and its wide wings lacing the blue
moving sky, the car now in motion
past the flash of sun again on an icy branch,
the self safely wrapped back inside its body,
which is your own, driving a car, yours.

–“Highway” by Gene Zeiger

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