Destination

East of Moriarty
I looked back
one last time.
The Sandias reared like waves,
me sliding down their long
smooth green backs.
They break west, against the
shores of a city
I can no longer call my own.
Undulating behind them,
a sea of cedar and sage
dryly scents the air,
the smell of bone-dust and colored earth.

The first perfume of this journey;
my last whiff of this place.
I hold it in my nostrils
then sigh,
the desert leaving my body.

Days of playing the sun’s foil,
me driving east,
it rolling over my head to
set each day in the rearview.

Days of watching the world flatten
and grow humid.
The radio dial
like a child clutching too many
pieces of Halloween candy,
dropping one
then picking it up
only to drop two more,
clung to its fistful of
Jesus, country, and static.

The rush of wind through open windows.

Somewhere across the first state line
Ma’am slipped into the vocabulary
and someone held a door
and I felt a little closer to home,
and a little farther away.

Crossing the Mississippi
at dusk and under a full moon.
Red blush at the horizon behind,
opal disc of the moon above,
we glided over a glowing bridge
over black purling water
and down into the East.

Each city wrapped its arms around us
then let us go,
knowing us destined for another.
Slipping out the other side,
a few more miles ticked by
one more place crossed off,
a bead on a string,
us navigating like Theseus.

East of Newport
a curve,
and then
the mountains rear up in the windshield
fixed and ancient
reaching neither toward nor away
only up,
with steep velvet flanks and
deep valleys where water rushes,
foaming over itself
with the story of what it’s seen
inside those ridges.

The road spools and unwinds
not so much over as
through their green heart
and I want to be like the dogs
hang my head out the window
lap at the breeze with my pink tongue.
The air weighted with the
loamy living smell of
my childhood in
god’s own country.

My cells respond,
say,
we are here.

My life at my back
and before me,
the land beneath me
and in me.

We are home.

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2 responses to “Destination

  1. OMG, Jessie. How wonderful!

  2. Wow! Beautifully written. Your present is evocative of my own journeys home. Something in the mountains speaks so clearly to the heart of us. You express it so well.

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