Spring had harbored in our town, and I left
the green froth of new leaves and washes of red
tulips as I headed north, an arrow’s route shot
upstate, the first landscapes smacked with yellow
daffodils and huge standing bouquets of cherry blossoms
and white- petaled dogwoods. Following the slow
return of winter with each mile clocked, the season
winding backwards, the air crisping. Frozen fields
of deer placid as cows, red tailed hawks surveying
dormant farm lands from trees still planked with snow.
Driving past years of forests, my eyes seeking
a prize – bear, moose, even coyote, something
more than the wild turkeys common as sparrows.
Appeased by a bald eagle spreading wings
the size of prayers, lifting into a cold sky.
Past the college our oldest son attended, past
where the second son went. Past where I worked
as a less than hip salesgirl in a hippie town,
shocked when the owner of a frame store told me
he stood in his doorway just to watch me walk by.
Past where a friend let me stay a difficult summer,
sharing a bed with her two cats. Past where I was
a reluctant guest at a Bible camp. The highway
led me back through winter, back through memories,
up to the edge of Canada where I had my first plane
ride at fourteen to Montreal, and then a rental car
roadtrip to Quebec where my stern father
squinted bewildered at the indecipherable menu
in his hands, across from me at a restaurant
in the countryside where no one spoke English.
I pulled out the only high school French I had
managed to memorize, gateau chocolate, une tasse
de café, et poulet, and the laughing waitress brought us
chocolate cake, hot cups of coffee, and roast chicken,
and my father beamed as we feasted like kings.
Susan Moorhead’s book of poetry, Carry Darkness, Carry Light, is available on Amazon.
Top photo: Bigstock