River Road

Libby Northup

I’m driving down River road

(which sits at the bottom of the levee,

how unbearably ominous when you can hear the river

but can’t see it)

I’m gripping this leather st 

steering wheel

at each wind and curve.

Just listen 

to the tires wallow down this smooth,

pretty black concrete, 

the wind of the brake as I slow down 

and the spurring of the engine 

when my foot discovers the gas.

I will (on purpose) miss my turn

and let this little car keep on sliding 

down this little road

it’s met six hundred times.

They are well acquainted.

My heart has thumped out of my chest 

With thrill

with terror

With triumph

on this road.

It could ruin my life

will all the secrets it knows.

I’ll pull into a warehouse parking lot

and watch cars illuminate the grass

with their headlights,

while I shuffle through mental memorabilia,

playing each scene like a tape

that comes to life within the lanes.

What bad luck 

insisted that I be a sucker for the sentimental?