Summer Shaw

To Washington From Texas - Poem by Summer Shaw

On six wheels with the weight in the back
And all of our memories stacked
In brown boxes just so

It took a while to get off,
Longer than we’d expected
But then… just when it seemed like we should call it quits and take a nap,
Hallelujah we were off!

The journey had stops to make
To talk with and touch again our familiar faces
And tears to shed to remember the sadness of loss by
And gifts to give and depart with

Then, the open road lay ahead…
Like none before us-
This time we’d not come back except to visit
To see the passing of time and kiss our loved ones

It began with a desert scene that stretched out wide and flat
Low shrubs and trees that were barely trees sparsely, decorated the landscape
Hills would come sometimes and then go quietly

The first long night was strange to behold
It was not the dark of cities but of pure, lightless Arizona desert
Where every bend approached with uncertainty as to what was around it
And every view out the window was a complete mystery

As the morning broke upwards from the horizon
We were sure we would be tired forever
But the ability to visually know where we were going was a delight
So we drove on with hope in our hearts to coast that is California

California came with a surprise
It was ugly and full of red dust and wind that shook
And wobbled our footing so that all we wanted was to be far away
And so we drove steadfast

Straight up to Los Angeles where the movies are made
And the interstate is the worst in all the country
With huge cracks and bulges and drivers rushing past
California left me with a partial heart attack and a bad taste in my mouth

But at 55mph for trucks with trailers, it’s hard to get the hell out of that state
That’s too big for its britches and too poor for it’s population
Though we finally did escape its treacherous road
That portion of the journey was only a mild test in what was to come

Oregon we entered by nightfall of the third day
So that the last, and most exhausting part of our trip was the most difficult
This state, of course gorgeous, is full of mountain passes that have no mercy
That will fling you, if you are not careful, into a dark abyss of pine trees

Up and down we drove, going 20mph sometimes
With our hearts skipping beats and each reminding the other to breath
With six cats roaming around the cab and back just as terrified and stir-crazy
With each trying to stay calm for the other – love at its truest

Until we made it through the eternal night of mountains, fog, and sleep deprivation
We had not truly encountered a scary drive
But we pulled over, gave our central organ a chance to beat normally
Then we were off through the south of Washington

With rain falling, at 5: 30am we reached a Motel 6 in Tumwater, WA
Never before had I arrived at an econo-lodging with such elation to be alive
With the person and pets that I love spending my life with
Bags in hand, ready to sleep and begin a new chapter in life.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 10, 2014

Poem Edited: Tuesday, February 11, 2014

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