Various and Sundry Poetry

maps

It would take less time to return to my mother’s house,
the Mass Pike so close I can see it around the corner,
and yet I look at the atlas because I don’t want to get there
too quickly, the day not even half over. And there it is,
Route 20 east, a small green line squirreling toward Amherst,
and I know it will be slow, 30 miles an hour, 45,
the towns in between pacing the drive. But on the road to my right,
a tag sale, the Premium Outlets of Lee, an Appalachian Trail picnic area,
where I imagine someone, having come out of the woods,
is resting and eating their lunch,
thinking about the rest of the route, and what they’ve left behind.

I wonder what I’ve left behind, what I might have taken with me
on that fast highway which I decided to untake. And now the car,
almost as if it were new,
finding a fresh way home.