This is where I leave you.
Part I: Leaving
The wrinkled map I keep in my trunk
is set and smoothed on the dashboard with shaking palms.
My sister may worry. Missed calls,
spare apartment keys turning to find empty.
My finger traces Colorado. I move west through blank cornfield roads,
then mountains and forest. Stiff limbs locked up, silent,
living out of my jeep with the rims bent in.
When I wake each morning, fog clouds
the windshield like a memory I push to the edge
of myself, details melting away. I speed
through smoky towns, past every dirty gas station
across the state line — the line between me
and my inherited sadness, as if I could cross that border
in myself too. I leave behind the silent defeats of my mother
and her mother and her mother before her,
raising children in a farmhouse, youth crumbling
like soil in the field. It’s enough just to try
to run. My toes push the pedal down
while my cell chokes in mud on the bottom of the Rock River.
I used to hold on with white knuckle fists, now
the ashes of my life are light on the wind
and my palms empty. West. I drive west,
watching yellow blinking lines on the pavement
blur together, like a hum of prayers
for second chances. And hope combusts
in my fuel tank,
the most powerful force that exists.
Part II: Arriving
I am standing in a field in Breckenridge, wondering
if a soulmate can be a place, instead of a person.
My hair blurs into the gold, wild grasses of fall
until there is no separating me from the land,
the land from me. This is how it was always
meant to be. I can roll my ear to the earth
and hear her welcome me home. I’m just sorry
it took me so long.