Driving through the Hills of Pennsylvania


Somewhere between Toledo and Leesburg
I left them behind
Driving through the hills of Pennsylvania
Tumbling into valleys
Pummeling east
I see them approaching
Catch them after crossing the Potomac

The straps of the luggage carrier flap in the wind
But flap slower than the birds
Slower than my thoughts
I see them piled high in the gaps
One on top of the other
Mine, yours, and millions before

Words flung on branches
Remnants of leftover miles— call out to me
Long fingers reach –
Pursue me like a tail of emergency flares
Frantic dreams dropped on highways
Tailgate me all the way home –

Distances remain.

I lick
frozen orange cream cones
to soothe the burning miles
under my feet
salve rubbing elbows
and stinging eyes, smoke
spewing from a single pipe

I scrape
yellow ribbons of icing
on my fingers
and keep the pieces in a freezer bag
for future celebrations

I lean back, lean forward
Squint into foggy suggestions
Gather words in a safe
To pull out for future reading —
Trees, springing on all sides,
Shelter lost destinies

Some have no shoulder.



(Last week, I took an 800+ mile road trip, part of which included crossing Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The terrain began to change in Ohio (from Indiana and Illinois), and once in Pennsylvania, I was welcomed with beautiful, green, rolling hills. I started writing this poem while on the road trip.)


Linking with dversepoets for the Poetics prompt