Looking for a Wrong Turn
Driving round and round this dead town
not wanting to go home
I revisit all the old routes:
Taking the A Train Express Uptown to 190th Street
turning left at The Cloisters
left again at the Puerto Rican bodega
where we buy black beans every week
then up six flights to our overcrowded but rent controlled flat.
One time I walked all the way from Canal Street
(the entire length of Manhattan almost)
and tonight I wish I could walk that far again.
In north Oakland walking home from Ashby Bart at night,
living a charmed life, strolling through drug deals
(piles and piles of cash spread out on the stairs)
crossing splashes of red and blue
slipping past the crack house to come home to you
in the festering Victorian commune.
And all those country drives from Harper's Ferry
to Martinsburg and back again,
surreal snow falling into my headlights
like a fairy tale globe;
or battling black ice up the mountain to Garden Valley
winding up Lotus Road to our little corner.
Yet tonight in Sacramento
I circle round and round –
Arden to Fulton to El Camino –
repelled from going home.
for those with loved ones overseas
The beach path
is a labyrinth
to avoid rocks and jellyfish,
hunks of seaweed
that could almost be my hair –
each step a prayer
echoed by the waves:
How many women
have walked this path before me?
I can almost feel
of their steps
of shattered rock
(seemingly so solid)
worn to bits
by feet like mine.
© Cynthia Linville