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  • Jessyca Stoepker

long straight drive

there are long drives where you find yourself

and then there are drives that find you.

today I was found on the roads of my inner child

winding around lakes and rivers

and hills that drop you down below your breath

but mostly those endless peripheries

of sober fields and barns thirsting for use.


they say you won’t recognize them anymore,

those lonely landscapes from your youth.

I never claimed to in the first place.

they aren’t real, they are posters,

post cards, post-modern. they are

immobile backgrounds in Flintstone cartoons.

muted, static, stagnant, soulless.

they are understated atmospheria

exhuming the convictions of our modest pasts and futures.

they silence us. then they melt like ambiguous dreams.


sometimes the houses I pass have faces.

many are just watching us

play in the pool or sled down the hill,

be children or be adults in the bodies of children.

tan houses feel unsettled, blue houses conspicuous.

the moods of the others are unreliable.


the trees are taller or gone. the air is emptier.

the roads straighter, so straight I can drive

straight to Lansing without turning.

Ragla is now Barnum is now Mt. Hope

and I’ve realized I was so afraid of those breath-taking hills

that I forgot how to get to them,

I forgot how close they were all along.


sometimes the long drives just feel flat

and smell like dull rubber. other times

they are spiraling compass needle recollections,

where every direction points to lost.




Original poem and image by Jessyca Stoepker. Please respect my intellectual property.

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