Family Portrait with Lost Map

Daniel Blokh

Runner-up
2017 Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers

The road signs passed my eyes like fevers, settled into the wind
            carrying my father’s words. He must have been aiming
them at us from the front seat, speaking of Russia and how different
            the roads were there, harsher. He must have thought
the rest of us were listening, the way his voice tumbled and crested
            in the breeze by my ear. He must’ve thought we wanted to know
that the highways were plainer there, with fewer
            road signs, but that he’s glad there’s more here
to keep company on long drives and mark distance
            and keep us from getting more lost.
I’ll hear it all again, I thought. I laid back so I couldn’t see
            the bald glint of his head, only the road;
and I thought I could hear that road’s voice rising to me
            through the open window, a sound like whistling.

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