poetry: the drive home

Photo thanks to @rileyburnsphotography

the drive home

highway 19 changed its speed limit last month and finally caught up with the rest of the county. you always did 65 anyway, so it hardly matters. the big steer thirty feet above the interstate gas station is looking worn these days—could use a new paint job and a few more spots.

the commuter lot sits empty, yet to bounce back from our year of dining room desks.

around the bend is where the cop usually sits, so turn on your cruise if you’ve got a heavy foot. right near the pumpkin patch is where they’ll get you. And just beyond the corner is the Northfield High School welcome. keeping tabs on state tournament appearances in every sport on their roster since the 1980s.

you peek at the swim and dive section and feel the weight of ten years ago, of sitting on a cold bleacher bench shivering in a skintight dolphin suit.

alternate, nevertheless, between gas and brakes—likely running late for whatever family dinner you agreed to attend. the girls will be waiting at the brewery’s corner table when you’re finished. run-ins with an old locker-mate and the girls you used to babysit are guarantees. the toothbrush you left behind in the basement bathroom from the last visit is not.

you pass Cannon Valley Veterinary clinic and remember the time you drove down on a sleepy morning with only an hour left. they waited for you as you stepped inside the room, your little yellow lab snoring away for the last time.

there are six different ways you can take through town, but you choose the scenic route past a golf course and the house where you had your first kiss. and over there, the cul-de-sac where you longboarded right into the passenger door of your own parked car. the basement you snuck into with Mike’s Hard Lemonades.

up the street, dad is always in the driveway, fixing the lawnmower or reorganizing the garage. the trees have grown taller. his hair tinted grayer than you remember. 

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