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Reading The Road Map

Bert Almon

I went out to see the comet
a little fuzzed ball of light
but it was Venus that moved me
brighter than I'd ever seen her
since an early morning in the 50s
my family lost on a highway
in the middle of the state
on a trip from a new home

My parents in the front seat
struggled with the rattling accordion
of the road map my father swearing
and my mother asking him not to swear
We were stopped in the middle of an oil field-
drilling towers with lights all around

I saw Venus through the windshield
and asked my father if we could steer by that
but he kept trying to read the map
in the faint moon of the dome lamp
The map had the roads in red and black
like a circulatory system
in my biology textbook

We were failing to circulate

Finally my father tried his lighter
adding a sun to the cold moon
of the dome lamp

After all these years I've found us:
our precise position as a family
was to be lost in the middle of the state
between one home and another
with my father cursing
and my mother telling him not to swear
as he burned a hole in the road map

Bert Almon's works copyright © to the author.


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