Today's poem is by Matthew Buckley Smith

For the Highway Medians

I've known you only on the way to somewhere else.
Town of a girlfriend's parents. Airport. Mountain lake.
Often I picture my arrival, pleasing, false
As any plan, while I am driving on, and look
Briefly across your scrub and scattered, threadbare trees,
Deserted island in a narrow, man-made breeze.

Nobody's destination, you're inhabited
From time to time as something other than yourself:
A blind for idling state police, a watershed
For those who've turned back after getting only half
Way home, the windy promise of an hourly wage
Someday for orange-suited cons, a softer cage.

Human, these passing needs are never truly you,
You whom we cannot help but pass eventually
And in our passing make you what you are—a few
Moments of peace, the brush, the field, the bright debris
Of wildflowers hurled by wind and honeybee from aisle
To grassy aisle. You are the spell, the little while.

Pretty and plain, you litter all my memories
Of family trips in childhood. Droning hours went by
No sooner if I marked each tree than otherwise.
Still, I'd number the trunks against the dimming sky,
The window's slicing edge. Although it raced to sever
Each one in turn, the farthest did not pass, not ever.

Copyright © 2012 Matthew Buckley Smith All rights reserved
from Dirge for an Imaginary World
Able Muse Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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