Highway 5 Poem By Fleda Brown

Highway 5 Poem By Fleda Brown

We take the direct shot
instead of the coastal route,
knowing what we’re missing,
not being able to have
everything, of course.
None of that entanglement:
fantastical ruffling of bays
and inlets, little houses
with slammed doors, gravel
driveways, faces with
three-days’ growth of beard.
This bleached line sings
like an aria, not part of
the general narrative.
Like a neutrino, beamed
through everything without
flinching. Ah, to travel
light as light, to hold to
the straight and narrow idea,
to take the wheel and—
as if it were a museum
cross section of a giant redwood—
draw a straight line
from the center: “Magna Carta
Signed. Columbus Discovers
America. Civil War Begins.”
There goes our personal
will, petty prejudices,
elegantly tossed off behind
like Isadora’s scarf.
There goes this difficult language
dashing like wild horses
into its heaven of metaphor.
Where we’re headed, the setting,
sun’s a long-stemmed rose,
held out before the 18-
wheelers: THE END, backlit
pink, a campfire in the dark.

Fleda Brown
first published in Poetry, vol. CLXXX, no. 2, May 2002

Highway 5 Poem By Fleda Brown

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