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Roadtrip West 

A bright thought flies across my afternoon
fighting to stay aloft as my finger,
on an old roadmap

traces a trip across the desert decades ago,
driving west in the early summer of our marriage.

We traveled by night in a compact car, small dog
crouched in the backseat panting,

fleeing from the flaming hands of heat, toward
an ocean we could only picture.

Even trailer trucks behind us huffing across
the Rockies could not make us give way,

not fog banks or detours we met full face;
challenged we pressed north to the redwoods.

These things I knew: we were young and capable;
this was our America, our luck to belong here.

We were following an instinct to find our edge,
look back at our innocence from a distance.

We saw rooms that were too small, doors to be
opened to a wilderness of choices
—daunting, perilous.

  • A poem by Natalie Safir.

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