Rearview Mirror

The road is so familiar
it should rest as a subliminal
background to my concentration
on the asphalt of the Interstate.

Instead I glance in the rearview
mirror over and over
images not of the flat landscape
distant grain elevators
taller than steeples
cattle pens and wheat fields
but images in imagination
pop like text balloons
between me
and the truck
just pulling out of the weigh station.

Heavier than his tonnage
I see the marble slab
on my mother’s crypt
the headstone at my father’s grave
foundations of the homes I lived in
and the hospital where
my children, long gone from here,
were born.

A restless cloud of winter starlings
crosses the road veers here and there
as they aim for their target
a grove of jack pine in a creek cut
below the hill.

Crowds of thoughts
echo their movement:
what the divorce court looked like
the funeral home too often visited
one church, cold and indifferent
where solace was sought
and finally came
with the release
of both it and its city.

What of the good times?
What of the laughter of children
repeated this very week
in the deeper tones of adults?
What of the loves
nurtured here
the families made
and then reconstituted
with each marriage?

What I leave behind
is only a husk of a city
devoid now of any family
all lovers
and most friends
as I carry away
the last box of belongings.

The automobile seems to tip
perhaps fly
then steady
and proceed north
as I leave sad Memory
to rattle its carapace on the prairie.


Poetry Monday