Nevada, U.S. Highway 6

by Kim Cassidy
Wild Poetry Forum
Second Place, April 2013
Judged by Linda Sue Grimes

Almost home. New Jersey to California
in four days with the promise of divorce
at the end. This new road seemed to go forever,
nothing but brown and dust and brush–
miles and miles, hundreds behind us,
hundreds more up ahead. Love takes these treks
and sometimes strange things happen, like the cow
that appeared, steadfast as a ship’s anchor
claiming her spot dead center as if to say:
Slow down. What’s your hurry?
It worked, because when you’re speeding
down the highway like somebody’s fury,
black and white coming up sudden against
a deep magenta sky makes you put on your brakes.
You get hungry driving, thirsty too,
and sometimes you have to pee. Basic needs
kick in when there’s so much nothing,
not even a radio station to dial in.
The sign was innocuous enough. There’s a lunar crater
up ahead. Well, I’ve never done it in a
moon crater and I figure, here’s my chance.
What the hell. One last go for the sake
of prosperity. No remorse, but life
likes to teach and I learned that day
that while marriage may be hard, craters
are hard and pointy.

In “Nevada, U.S. Highway 6,” the speaker deftly juggles emotions as he completes a long road trip from the East Coast to the West Coast. Bearing the heavy burden of an impending divorce, he dramatizes a light-heartedness that promises to keep him in balance. Image choices such as “the cow / that appeared, steadfast as a ship's anchor,” and “craters” that are “hard and pointy” help create in the piece a rich texture that complements the confusion of an uncertain future. --Linda Sue Grimes