Road Trip 2022, Day Eleven: Cades Cove

a magical place:
the only way to describe
these teenage smiles
even pup loves it 
cycling past wildlife
below the Smokies
where can you see bears
and collect salamanders
under the same sun?
this mountain-framed pic
taken on the same soil
twenty-three years past
we’re fatter, older
while the mountains are hotter;
such is life—sad changes
yet look at our girls
fearlessly taking this on
one moon-wing a time

Road Trip 2022, Day Eleven: Cades Cove

a magical place:
the only way to describe
these teenage smiles
even pup loves it 
cycling past wildlife
below the Smokies
where can you see bears
and collect salamanders
under the same sun?
this mountain-framed pic
taken on the same soil
twenty-three years past
we’re fatter, older
while the mountains are hotter;
such is life—sad changes
yet look at our girls
fearlessly taking this on
one moon-wing a time

Road Trip 2022, Day Ten: Gaps

through Cumberland Gap
we drive down to Tennessee
and stand in three states
it’s been many years
(the gap between visits here)
and everything’s changed
Pappy’s room is new
with the antique furniture
from their grandparents
a whole new kitchen 
to fill Donna’s empty nest
with the light of love
this generation 
will take the time to teach them
and fill in the gaps
they’ll learn who came first,
what they fought for, what they lost;
close gaps, open eyes

Stay Gold

from this flight: find light
 carry it twenty years past
 your flight-or-fight life
 
 through the turbulence
 of youth’s wanderlust wonders,
 past career questions,
 
 into the blue sky
 of a healthy tomorrow
 shined by little grins.
 
 find the golden light
 carried by heavenly wings
 that kept you on Earth.
 
 happy fortieth,
 twenty years without cancer,
 and still shining bright.
 
 

Quilt

with chunks of chicken
sticker books and melting chocolate
crinkly bags of beef jerky
mini pencils strewn like petals
crumbs in every crack
we make our way along the border

its golden sphere beckons us to stop.
we can’t go inside but see the perfect playground,
the grass soft as our new carpet,
the two-story fountain filled with children
who hear it erupt and rush
like carnivorous hawks toward fresh prey,
and i forget
(for all of ten minutes)
that i am not one of them,
but the parent
now soaked from head to toe,
dress sticking to my legs
as my three little girls
weave me in and out of spurts
in our quilt of childhood joy,
sewing up the perfect end
to a dogged day’s drive.