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November 28, 2022

Road Trip

By Barbara Link

Road Trip

Stunned by 5 a.m.,
I wait on summer-wet-grass while
Dad ties suitcases on station wagon rack,
Rubs his bristled cheeks.

I carry my stuff in Grandma's
Embroidered pillowcase.
A deck of blue and white playing cards,
Corners torn from playing violent slapjack.
A fringed leather marble bag,
Clinking with seventeen silver dollars.

I perch in the back seat between sisters,
Pinched if I touch their legs with my dirty sneakers,
Or kick the front seat.

We start in Montana shivers,
Window hot air by North Dakota.
In gas station restrooms
I crouch over seat-less toilets.
City Park for lunch,
Cold wet plums, tuna sogs into
Rainbow Bread.

Afternoon stops for road repair,
Tan like dirt on construction worker's arms.
We loop around army convoys
Streaming to summer camp.
Whistles from soldiers for my big sisters.
They fluff their hair, wave lovely arms,
Wind blowing through white sleeveless blouses.

Stupor hours.
Mom's head collapses on seat back,
Turquoise chiffon scarf over curlers,
Like tiny silver garbage cans.
Sisters lean on sides of car,
Sleeping mannequins.

Dad and I listen to baseball radio,
"A high fly ball to left field."
I rest my chin on the back of his seat.
Sniff dusty sweat and Old Spice.
Tires roll on asphalt, our first divided highway.
Almost there.
     I chant--Harmon Killebrew, Vada Pinson, Pee Wee Reese,
     And like a long string of pink bubble gum,
     Pull out the moment --
A girl alone with her dad.

Article © Barbara Link. All rights reserved.
Published on 2017-01-09
Image(s) are public domain.
10 Reader Comments
10:56:21 AM
I can feel family traveling!
12:42:46 PM
I really enjoy Barbara link's poem!
Those images she shows are crisp & full flavor.
Anne S. Da Vigo
01:19:45 PM
This is so lovely! It doesn't just bring back the memory of those summer trips, but actually puts me there. Lunch in city parks, crowded car, sweaty kids, that close, uneasy feeling of family.
07:47:39 PM
I love love this!!
08:06:48 PM
Very nice poem. Made me remember our weekend drives when I was a kid and leaning on my dads seat while he drove.
Sarah M
09:22:11 PM
How wonderfully written - evokes such a feeling of nostalgia.
12:18:01 AM
full of surprises and delight xoxoxo
11:12:43 PM
A lovely poem--so much good imagery. But the final simile of the pink bubble gum knocks it out of the park!
08:56:12 AM
Bravo! Great imagery & just enough nostalgia.
Steven Smith
01:52:41 AM
Nice, really nice. I feel what you gave me. I feel your dirty sneakers begging for a chance illicit encounter, I relish your mother's welcome nap, I know your connection to your father. thank you, barb, thank you
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