Wednesday, December 21, 2005

December 21, 2005: Seventeen Hours, Give or Take (Driving South)

I woke this morning, sunlight streaming in the windows, with this poem in my head. I wrote this poem during the last of the five years we lived in Iowa. Once or twice a year we would make the long drive from Ames, Iowa to Johnson City, TN to visit our family and friends. This stems from that and was the last piece in my master's thesis.

Seventeen Hours, Give or Take (Driving South)

We count on someday,
coffee on the front porch,
Buffalo Mountain still

in its own black shadow.
We live now
for the next vacation
and the next, driving southeast
and then south and east,
these strange selves

as the farms turn to forests,
corn to tobacco.
Two hours to go
and we are easy again
as if some lethal spell
has been lifted. We unzip

our stiff suits
at the state line
and toss them out the window.
Our skin beneath is warm

and smells greenly of wood.
We can't stop breathing.

(By Sarah Small. Published in Breathing the Same Air: An East Tennesse Anthology 2001)

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