Winter Road Trip
The road is long as I travel south
and sun is low in the white sky.
Last night I woke to a great silence,
in a house that is anything but silent
by day. Old pines keep watch
over that dwelling, and the moon
keeps watch, and I wish
for this kind of watching,
but my bedroom in the town where I live
looks out over streetlights and the sounds
of cars and sometimes sirens. In my room,
the roads seem short, and I wonder
if tonight I will dream of the long road
home, and how the sun bathed the trees
in gold, and how the sumacs leaned with flowers
the color of some wine whose name
I can’t remember, near the trees whose names
I’ve never known, now strung with long red necklaces.
Funny, I can’t imagine taking a winter road trip south. It would be so different to live in the north.
My house is about to get a lot more “silent / by day,” unlike the poet’s. Empty nest begins this month.
The poem starts “The road is long” but later says “the roads seem short” and finally “I will dream of the long road.” Time in a car is always relative. As a Texan, I have great patience for road trips. I won’t be getting away this summer, and I’ve been dreaming of “the long road.”
The other part that repeats is the watching. In the poem the pines keep watch. I can ask my pecan tree to keep watch over the backyard and the live oak to keep watch in the front. The moon keeps watch, which is why I watch it every morning when I walk the dogs. Me? “and I wish / for this kind of watching”—for things above me to watch over me.