“Love, Etc.” volume 2

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.

L.L. Barkat

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.


  1. roads home – hopefully there’s always a wagging dog waiting.

    (be gentle with your own self and your empty nest)