Postcards from Route 66

They moved from rented rooms to small motels
or bungalows just off the highway
where passing headlights scanned the ceilings,
then sank behind the cottonwoods.
A week, No more!, in each.

Sometimes they were lucky
and found a place with a built-in pool.
The two sisters would run to it,
gravel embedded in their flip-flops.
They’d float, faces to the sky,
the water a blue dot on a grassless patch
in Gallup maybe or Tucumcari;
the earth rotating & revolving,
oblivious to their whereabouts.

Arms extended, the girls would drift
past ranches, towns, and farms,
rows of pecan trees and hay fields:
everywhere that was not theirs.
And past other children,
with their strange accents and hitched up dungarees:
everyone who was not them.

Driving again:
on their way somewhere,
or on their way back.
The floorboards smelled
of seeped-in water,
and all the misfortunes of their birth
pushed like pillows against the door
of the shuddering station wagon.
The dark road beneath the tires,
always pulling in the wrong direction.

Published in Fixed & Free Anthology, Duke City Fix