Fall 1991 • Vol. XIII No. 4 PoetryOctober 1, 1991 |

A Little Traveling Music

This is not a planet I would want to inherit—With its inventory of mountainous sorrowsThere is hardly a place to lay a good night'sSleep before tomorrow's bad news arrives, And hardly a road I want to travel. I know these woods are no longer gentleAnd love no longer runs through dry grass Clean as the country we once dreamed of— Out here hard times grind into thin skinWith needle tracks and pock marksThat make the going rough even for thoseOf us who have gone straight. Listen to the reports: arteries and alternates Twist and back up all the way out, cyclists Spin out in heavy water and trashy sunlight. Long distance hauls jackknife in lanes too narrow To carry weight limits for any major move, and Western High rises are clogged to the exits—I can't get home, Can't get back to ghettos where uncles drove jitneysBecause white cabbies couldn't read the EnglishOf broken street signs, even in broad daylight. I want something more than a two-lane either-orWorld still m

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Colleen J. McElroy is author of Blood Memory (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). McElroy is professor emerita at the University of Washington and lives in Seattle, Washington.

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