“Unplotted” by Christine Poreba

Christine Poreba


One woman leaned
over another on the shoulder
of the road. A thin black
sweater fluttered backward.
Whatever had happened
had just happened.
Trucks piled up
behind us, a procession
for the woman none of us knew.
And in this curve of dust
and sky, on Route 62-180
to El Paso, beside a mountain
where that morning
we’d risen in the wind,
where somewhere close a border
had been drawn,
we waited and were told
the wait would be long.
Men stood in clumps,
speaking Spanish, taking turns
to walk out to the desert
and relieve themselves, glance
through swaying brush
at the afterwards ahead,
wives still in their passenger seats
with the doors nudged open.
Such an easy thing,
to wait, to be alive, but
some of us closed our eyes
and sighed. How soon,
we wanted to know, could
we be back on the road like those
who would come upon this curve
in a few hours and pass over it,
as they’d pass over any other
spot along their way, not knowing?

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009

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