“Maybe Lewiston” by Katherine Hagopian Berry

Katherine Hagopian Berry


Maybe we will see Katahdin, we tell our children; maybe we will see a moose.
Pulling over at the Lewiston Travel Center,
trucks at the tagging station, hunting season just beginning.
Death like a warm meal; Death like a family reunion; Death like a game.
We always take precautions hiking,
blaze-orange hats in the back of the car.
Once a woman weeding her garden was mistaken for a deer.
Death like a stray bullet; Death like a mistake.
Inside the Circle K everyone is grabbing whoopie pies and hot slices.
My son wants a Halloween skull.
We tell him there will be plenty of time for souvenirs.
Death like a pirate; Death like a clown.
Heading north the road is empty, ambulance screaming in the other direction,
police cars, helicopter searchlight desperate circling.
What’s happening, I wonder. Someone is lost, my husband answers.
Death like a whisper; Death like a broken mirror; Death like a Passover prayer.
We are too late to see Katahdin, pass the turnoff, scenic view;
we keep right on driving. I imagine a moose
behind the dark trees, watching; a sign to stay grounded.
Death like a book gently closing; Death like a leaf softening the ground.
We find out that night. First thing in the morning,
detouring past Lewiston, I keep searching the woods for meaning:
Amber leaves a tracksuit; frost a car of interest; shadow a man with a gun;
Death in the passenger seat. Death on manhunt. Death still at large. Death on the run.

from Poets Respond
October 29, 2023


Katherine Hagopian Berry: “Mainers will know I took liberties moving the Auburn travel center to Lewiston (they are sister towns) and by putting the tagging station inside the convenience store (as is often the case in rural Maine). Forgive me. I love you all. Stay strong.” (web)

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