Following the Road
by Larry Smith from A River Remains. © Word Tech Editions, 2006.
I have left my wife at the airport,
flying out to help our daughter
whose baby will not eat.
And I am driving on to Kent
to hear some poets read tonight.
I don’t know what to do with myself
when she leaves me like this.
An old friend has decided to
end our friendship. Another
is breaking it off with his wife.
I don’t know what to say
to any of this—Life’s hard.
And I say it aloud to myself,
Living is hard, and drive further
into the darkness, my headlights
only going so far.
I sense my own tense breath, this fear
we call stress, making it something else;
hiding from all that is real.
As I glide past Twin Lakes,
flat bodies of water under stars,
I hold the wheel gently, slowing my
body to the road, and know again that
this is just living, not a trauma
nor dying, but a lingering pain
reminding us that we are alive.