The Road Ahead

I’m driving, always driving, between here and there,
96 minutes toward Iowa on my 3 day/4 day split.
This blacktop treadmill slides beneath me with podcasts,
with phone calls to long lost friends—lost not to time
but to place across a country of mountaintops of interference
in my new car turned office, bought for these commutes.
Mostly, though, I stare straight ahead into the inky dusk
or dawn while my dashboard flashes orange with each lane shift
—my only companion—as I eat pavement dots, an unending
game of Ms. Pac-Man, daydreaming about my life and love
just down the road.

It seems small, this shuttling of self, this time away,
but it means I’m never fully anywhere.
I’m hewn in two, both ghost and attacker.
My eyes trained on the road. At work, I yearn for
what is mine—kitchen, bed, spouse/at home,
I fear what I forgot. There is a restlessness,
a kind of jetlag that never ceases as I watch the sun
set and rise, a perpetual fire over cornfields,
warning me that the world is moving,
while I feel—at 75 miles an hour—that I am
standing still.

Photo by Abby Manzella

Abby Manzella is the author of Migrating Fictions: Gender, Race, and Citizenship in U.S. Internal Displacements, winner of the Society for the Study of American Women Writers Book Award. She has published with places such as Literary HubColorado ReviewCatapult, and Threepenny Review. Find her on Twitter @abbymanzella.

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