From a booster seat in the back, she said
the white lines marking the middle of the road
looked like lines on a treasure map.
Not sure how many highways she’s seen
coming into foster care from the mountains,
from a mom without a license. From my front seat
experience with the system, I know better
than looking for gold at the end of our road
together. I see it more as perforated markings
between paths pre-made to separate—a chance
to fill in the gaps with what is as temporary
as sidewalk chalk—on two roads stitched in a moment
for construction, detailed with warning signs and
orange cones waiting for government workers to pick up
and drive toward their original destinations.
No surprise when this page doesn’t tear clean,
just a safe spot for imaginations to turn a car ride
to the court house into sure marks on a steady horizon.
Seth Grindstaff teaches high school creative writing classes in northeast Tennessee. His poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Sheila-Na-Gig, The Dead Mule, Forbidden Peak Press, Edify Fiction, Transcend, among others, and has also been honored at the John Fox Jr Literary Festival in VA. He spends his time alongside his sun-loving wife and foster children.
See another poem by Seth in 7.4