Road Trip

Five sandy-colored cranes saunter through
a front yard in Manchester, Michigan
A dead coyote stretches across a lane
on a highway in the Montana sun
A white shape – a giant plastic bag maybe? –
sits in lily pads on a pond – and then
it fluffs its wings and it’s a swan!
In front of us, something tawny skips across the road
and into a root beer forest – a white-tailed fawn!
“RESIST HATE” reads a bumper sticker in Wisconsin
“THERE WILL BE A WALL” reads a tee shirt in S. Dak
“CA DRMN” reads a license plate in Michigan
“WALL DRUGS” reads a billboard in Idaho’s outback
A rangy motorcycling tourist in leather, his skin
weathered by rain and wind, sleet, sun and snow,
speaks with a Dutch accent or maybe German,
in the Crazy Horse exhibit, and does he know
that an American tourist is watching him and
he’s part of the exhibit for her, and does she know
that she’s part of the exhibit for the folks from France?
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

Can I Take Your Picture?

Can I Take Your Picture?

“Can I take your picture?” I ask the folks who sit
in a line of rocking chairs in front of a Cracker Barrel
store in Indiana. And they grin for me and I click.
“Can I take your picture?” I ask Joanna and Mitch
in the Anoka Independent Grain and Feed and they
give me broad midwestern smiles and I click.
“Can I take your picture?” I ask the international students
in front of Mount Rushmore and they quickly
line up in rows for me and beam and give me hope
for the world – maybe we’ll survive after all – and I click.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell