i Stole This from “Writer’s Almanac”

Yesterday “Writer’s Almanac” began with this poem. In my case, the directions are a little catawampus, and there are a couple of other statements a bit off their mark for my situation, but it made me think of my two daughters and me, and how i love them even though they are in different stages of leaving me, or perhaps my leaving them. So in my usual fashion, i teared up a bit because i believe — oh how i believe and hope while trying to believe — this  is best for them and that we are easing “into a rhythm where the plains of her life (their lives), of mine, drift buoyant, open, rising without words, hours, or habits—new country.” And the tears before reaching culmination turn into a smile of love.

The Way West
by Raphael Kosek

My daughter is driving
across the continent, eating cheddar
in Wisconsin, waking to a cougar’s yellow
rasp, sleeping tentless
in a corn field where a mysterious

insect leaves a sore story of welts
over her face, her neck—
she is off my radar, and it feels like
part of me is floating off the map,
past the flannel of sleep, the safety

of novels—I hear the wind over her phone,
constant. The wind, her voice
informs me, never stops blowing in South Dakota
where the Black Hills are not really black
but green and grey like Cezanne’s mountains.

Her hair glistens with a mid-American
sweat I have never felt, her car
runs into the different hours
of a different night. We have
lost the clock between us, the familiar

gone strange. Prairie, so flat, she says,
you can see the sun for a long time.
I feel something flatten out between us—
and ease into a rhythm where the plains
of her life, of mine, drift

buoyant, open, rising without words,
hours, or habits—
new country.

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