Wednesday Poetry Break

From today’s edition of The Writer’s Almanac.  Enjoy:

Travel Directions

There ought to be a word
for the way you know how to get some place
but don’t remember the names of streets
the number of turns and blinking yellow lights
so that if someone asked
you really couldn’t say
except you know the road starts out straight
and when it’s sunny the branches blink across
the windshield making you want to rub your eyes
then the road turns sharply uphill past a red barn
where a black dog jumps out to race you for a quarter mile
and finally recedes in the mirror like a disappointment
and you remember the road dips downhill
into the shadows of the morning
where you hear Bach’s unaccompanied ‘cello
and understand what a good fit the ‘cello makes
in the hollow of the body
where grief begins and for an indeterminate time
the road winds vaguely past
houses    people    road signs
while time hums in your ear and you remember
the dream you left behind that morning
which had nothing
to do with where
you are going

—  Joan I. Siegel



  1. I hate it when people ask me for directions. It’s mostly just feel for me, and this piece nicely describes it. This reminds me of the collage of images in my head from long family car trips we took repeatedly to see relatives when I was kid and I could spend all my time staring out the window. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I’m always impressed when people can spout off the exit number I should take. I drive up and down I-95 five days a week and I couldn’t tell you the exit number on either end! But I know every tree along the highway, every home I pass, every face waiting at a bus stop ….

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