Eight hundred miles north on Interstate 5
traveling with my daughter.
California parched and brown until Shasta
and the clouds roll through one another
ghosts wrapped within ghosts.
Twenty-one years ago this same road
with my pregnant wife.
Last vacation for the two of us
before the kids arrived.
Today Portland is clear and the sun
slices the edges of the downtown skyline.
The bridges spanning the river
seem delicate as if they are supported by air
rather than bedrock.
The radio plays great hits of the seventies
sweet dreams are made of this
who am I to disagree?
Washington and green conifers
free coffee and wireless Internet
at the rest stop. Suddenly
Seattle appears on the horizon.
Rain clouds off to the west.
Last minute fumbling with the road map
as we find our way to her new home.
Back on the plane alone.
The sun sets during the whole flight
the evening star pinned against the sky
lights of towns scattered in the gentle darkness
San Francisco luminous as we land.
Two hours home takes the same time
as twenty-one years.
Note on the text:
Composed in September 2006