by Kimberly L. Becker
At Manassas the highway stained with blood
from where you hit the deer or seepage from
the Civil War (you didn’t hit the deer
but might have or perhaps you hit the person
whose bicycle—front wheel and severed frame
was one of three incongruous symbols
seen that day as you drove towards Roanoke,
the others being a group of three white horses
and a stone bridge to nowhere now--now here?)
And in your highway reach of mind you held
sadness swaddled like an infant, stillborn,
and said goodbye to every inch of it,
examined it the way they say elephants
do their dead, exploring all the contours
in a ritual of grief, saying God be
with you or in Cherokee or German
until we meet again, knowing that you wouldn’t
“On I-66,” was first published in The Dividings, by Kimberly L. Becker
© 2014 Wordtech Communications LLC, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Reprinted with permission.
Kimberly L. Becker is author of Words Facing East; The Dividings (WordTech Editions), and Flight (forthcoming, MadHat Press). Her poems appear widely in journals and anthologies, including Indigenous Message on Water; Women Write Resistance: Poets Resist Gender Violence; and Tending the Fire: Native Voices and Portraits (University of New Mexico Press). She has received grants from MD, NJ, and NC and held residencies at Hambidge, Weymouth, and Wildacres. Kimberly has read at venues such as The National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, DC), Split This Rock, and Wordfest. She has served as a mentor for PEN America's Prison Writing Program and AWP's Writer to Writer Program.