Purpose is hard to come by,
when you’re spending days
driving South; Utah and Arizona.
Red in the rearview, red ahead too.
Finding (losing) yourself in corners of
gas station convenience stores
each afternoon–Fritos, Cheetos, Lays.
Postcard racks, beaded bracelets,
orange price tags
peeling up around the edge.
The past: a sticky, dewy monsoon summer,
when you’d never seen these roads,
nor mountains–not in either state.
What could you have done
with the weeks spent on the road
if you’d stayed home; stationary.
Couldn’t you have refilled the bird feeder?
Fixed the porch or at least mulched the garden beds.
Oxygen streams in from the slit you left
in the car window as you drive and jogs your seagull memory.
About the people or tomato plants
who may have needed you back home.
# # #
Jeanne Mack currently lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, where scientists once discovered Pluto. She is an MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University, and editor in chief of the Thin Air Magazine. She teaches English to college freshmen, is the winner of the 2017 Charles E. Bull Creative Writing Award for poetry, has work forthcoming in Mid-American Review–with which she was a Fineline competition finalist, and she has been previously published in Citius Mag and Flag Live.
Photo: Tegan Mierle