If we fold the map just so, the journey’s path
shrinks considerably. Sacramento enters the Hudson
Valley, Toronto meets Santa Fe, and Lee County,
Mississippi merges with Tupelo, Texas, joining music
to fruitcakes in a celebratory feast. Stroll down one
road and find a lost car. Exit a theater to enter bliss
or a good bar with craft beer on tap, where no one
discusses mileage and you may eavesdrop on
conversations about ancient nautical battles, the
history of chili, and radiation. Unfold the map
twice to find yourself in Swamp Angel, Kansas,
named after a Civil War field gun and not a spiritual
being, and wander to the next intersection near
Barstow, where Joshua trees tickle the sky’s belly
and I ate the best chili dog in my young life’s
experience in 1968. Look to the edges, where the
best places crowd and nowhere lives in a corner.
Jump from Busan to Venice, drive to Perth and
beyond. Slowly crease the page. Do this again.
Point blindly. There. Your destination waits.
My poem “Maps” iwas publishedin February 2019 at Riggwelter. Thank you, Amy Kinsman, for taking this piece, which was originally drafted during the August 2016 Tupelo Press 30-30 Challenge. I owe its existence to Ken Gierke, who sponsored the poem and provided the title (which I changed) that sparked this piece.