RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Apr. 20

The Poet’s Road

Mark Fogarty

It’s State Road 111, I think.
It’s a Sunday afternoon, just getting dark.
Everyone’s inside, and even though I like
Being alone, I miss them some.

The road starts out as a doublewide each way,
Then narrows to a single lane each way.
Soon there are no homes, just empty
Commercial buildings, looking as if
They’ve been empty since the Great Recession.
The bank repossessed, damn them,
And the mice come out at every moonrise.

I’m running along the river road
Til there’s a huge hill, hard to negotiate,
Shadowed by silent trees,
And by the time I reach the crest it’s dark,
No nothing anywhere.
No cars even to tailgate and then pass me
In a cranky roar. The river’s been empty
Since Clark’s men rowed up it.

That’s a poet’s joke: Route 111
Is in the eastern part of the country,
Clark Fork River in the west.

I make up songs as the boneyards whistle by:
Two cousins pleased I’m singing about them.
When I see the lights of Rivertown ahead,
I will sing Rivertown’s praises.

On the far side of the hill, there’s the river again.
It cheers me up, though it is dark and getting cold.
Turn right and go ten more miles!
That’s too far to go, and it’s not too far.

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