Winter 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 1 PoetryJanuary 1, 1997 |

Riding West with Laura

Between Utica and Buffalo the billboards have grown old. A mother pouring milk for her son's Wheaties. A father waving from his immense blue DeSoto. You hum like a child beside me. In the weed-grown Baptist parking lot a sign announces a wedding: Jay & The Americans will perform Great Hits of 1957. Now it's dusk and the fireflies kindle and happiness approaches fast but swerves at the last second. Our odometer begins to shine like an emerald, proclaiming we've been traveling all our lives. The little white motels gleam like sugar cubes and promise pools and telephones. The ruby in the gas gauge says there's nothing left. Only static on the radio, news of assassinations, famine, giant mirrors hoisted into space. Laura, it's no lie: this wheat goes on forever.

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D. Nurkse is the author of ten collections of poetry, most recently A Night in Brooklyn (Knopf, 2012).

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