HWY 78, poem by S.Lee

Just think­ing about the time we drove to Athens.

It was dur­ing an after­noon thun­der­storm, it just broke

and his foot wouldn't let loose, no not one bit, not even for me.

While I breast fed the baby, his friend popped the tops

of two cold ones and toast­ed. Wheels hydroplan­ing, he steered

right into that storm with only two fingers

but once wind began tak­ing the car farther

he pulled under the roof of that white filling-station.

Rain flood­ed the while mar­ble dri­ve where I got out. Inside,

that that rick­ety store flies buzzed, caught

between torn screens and bro­ken glass, when I noticed

a young woman with a child.

Baby on her hip, she walked over to that coke-cola bin

and after insert­ing coins, and pulling up that drip­ping green

bot­tle she gen­tly moved that cool glass across his lit­tle forehead,

and he smiled.

She then lay the broad part of the bar­rel against her chest, over that new welt

now dark­en­ing and then, that man — bust­ing through, again–cut right in front of her.

His skin looked rud­dy, and he stank of stale cig­a­rettes. Clear­ing the back of his throat, he hoist­ed a

case of beer on the counter and turned back, look­ing at that woman and child,

and they would become so qui­et, like they weren't even there.

And look­ing back, I know now, that was the day we left Athens.

Slee is a moth­er of three, mar­ried to a writer, and lives in the Mid­west where she was born. While in the Anthro­pol­o­gy Pro­gram at Wash­ing­ton Uni­ver­si­ty, St. Louis, she switched gears and took a right turn into the Cre­ative Writ­ing Pro­gram, receiv­ing a Cer­tifi­cate in Poet­ry. Her poems, plays and sto­ries about "The Appalachia" are rich with image and based from her own knowl­edge and obser­va­tions while hav­ing been a child, hav­ing a child in South­ern Appalachia. Her poems: The Cahokian, Eliot in View, Eliot Review.

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