A Spoon River Drive - Poem by Megan Lacey
I have a tendency to drive too fast.
In a little brown car, my foot pushing the accelerator-
Watching the snow covered fields pass in a blur and geese alighting to look for grain missed by the combines of fall.
I descend from the bluffs and start along the levee road, the backwaters low, there was little rain last summer.
But the snow covers it all.
The old Indian-mounds rise from the fields, hill too abrupt to be natural in this landscape of soft sandhills and bluffs of clay.
The river road begins to curve.
I cross the Spoon, frozen solid, and think of Edgar Lee Masters and the fame he brought to this twisty creek, riddled with sandbars and undertows.
As I turn toward Havana, the big bridge and power plant (with its plume of white steam) loom ahead.
I push the little brown car.
This POS has pick up and go!
Mounting the bridge, its blue steel turrets named after our one famous politician, I glance out my window to each side, an almost daily ritual.
But as I look down at the big river, the Illinois-
the sparkling blue water merging to a rich, muddy brown right beneath me,
I think of what the river sometimes claims.
And I whisper a blessing for those lost ones, and finger the silver pendant on my breast.
Shaking myself, I crank the radio. I am young! Can I not revel in that youth?
Turning down my street, the bricks bump a tattoo under the tires of the little brown car.
I pass homes, and a church with a statue- Saint Patrick, I think.
The hill crests and I see my house, quiet on the tree lined street.
Beyond that block is the bustle of Main, but on Orange, tranquility reigns.
I open the back door, hang my coat, and am met by a great black beast-
With silky ears and liquid mahogany eyes.
He is named for a Civil War general, my father's obsession apparent in the Labrador's peculiarly long title.
He capers about, does Benjamin Spoons, easily excited as only that breed can get.
I sit in the armchair, fragrant with smells of both my mother (herbs and living plants) and my father (tobacco) setting a notebook on my lap.
The dog nestles at my feet as I begin to write...
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