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