Mother took us in the gritty gray mornings
before dawn, before the fruit could warm and split.
My berry-stained hands the color of rhubarb.
My brother snoring against his seat.
Mother’s hair stood stacked up in shelves of blonde wig.
She smoked and blew into the rearview
clicking the nails of her other hand as she drove.
Every time we hit the bridge I knew what she was thinking.
I pictured it as well, us a leaping whale,
going over the railing,
doing it together
He was wild and purred like the motorcycle,
his eyes black as licorice, wet, inky.
She hugged him hard.
The wind pushed back.
Truckers blared their horns.
They looked like a Springsteen song.
The yellow stripes reminded her of Oz.
They’d been married but a day and already
she was homesick.
—Len Kuntz, Snohomish, WA