Susan J. Erickson


My mother collected horizons and souvenir teaspoons.
Her anthem was the hymn of tires against asphalt.
But, she knew you need a plot of dirt
for hollyhock and birch to take root—a place
with an address to print in blue ink on a child's
school registration form: 120 North Oak Street,
Small Town, Minnesota. Eventually, of course,
the child, the children, move Somewhere Else.
Then the shimmering mirage of the road is spliced
like the film of the Washington, D. C. monuments
my mother showed her third grade students.
When the camera panned Lincoln's face, the film
would stick, flash some numbers and then sputter
back to life. Maybe their dreams—Lincoln,
Dr. King, all the third graders, my mother—
stalled, then caught a sprocket and advanced
to the next frame. Even in a black and white photograph
an Airstream looks silver and sleek,
as if someone hosed off dust from the day's trip
then swabbed the aluminum with soft chamois.
That could be her, parked for the night in Space 38.
Beneath the rollout awning, a couple sits
in folding canvas chairs, a map spread between them.

Susan J. Erickson’s first full-length collection of poems, Lauren Bacall Shares a Limousine, recently won the Brick Road Poetry Prize. Susan lives in Bellingham, Washington, where she helped establish the Sue C. Boynton Poetry Walk and Contest. Her poems appear in Crab Creek Review, The James Franco Review, The Fourth River and The Tishman Review.

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