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.




Widow's Walk

for those with loved ones overseas


The beach path

is a labyrinth

I walk

spiraling in

to avoid rocks and jellyfish,

spiraling out

to skirt

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

the impressions

of their steps

beneath mine

on layer

upon layer

of sand,

on layer

upon layer

of shattered rock

(seemingly so solid)

worn to bits

by feet like mine.



Cynthia Linville