On the car ride home from New Hampshire
we split up, husbands in one car with the sons,
and wives in the other with the daughters.
A two hour drive where conversation moves,
finally, like a speedway. Our husbands are good,
but often fall silent. What this feels like, as daughters sing
and the trees line both sides of the highway
like a corridor, is a shedding. What this feels like
is oxygenating truths we’ve been smothering.
We breathe, thank the road for allowing this roaming,
this rambling. We’ve both been hiding wine bottles.
We’re okay, a promise, but we hide them anyway,
just in case our husbands don’t notice. Our lives
are good, we just can’t control the happenings,
can’t control the son who hibernates in his room,
grossing Madden points as if it will pay the rent,
can’t control the daughter who manipulates
conversations, can’t control the way our mouths
sometimes open and a foreign sound like a leaf
blower comes gasping out. Guilt is a tunnel
but the miles are merciful as orange-red leaves beckon
like the applause at the finish; we sigh, grateful, my foot
so light on the pedal, willing the breaks. It is Sunday
and when we get there—home—there will be
food shopping and meal prep and packing bags
with worry that we will ease with star-shaped
sandwiches. Home is our beginning but also gridlock,
where the exhaust burns. I think of the months
to come, how the trees will rid of their unwants,
let the dead fall, find vulnerability yet confession
as each leaf separates; grace is being caught in the wind
before hitting the ground’s grave. I want to stay here—
fifty miles from the Massachusetts border—
with my friend who listens to every falling word.
I want to see what it will feel like to fully reveal
what’s underneath: sap or roots or just the soft,
dark pith of ourselves.
by Tara Iacobucci
Editor’s Note: Alliteration, repetition, metaphor, simile—all the best poetic techniques are used so skillfully in this poem that the reader barely notices because the story is so true and necessary.