Poem for leaving Sonoma County

Upon These Dead Roads

I climb Harrison Grade
for the last time, seeing
the illegal roadside dump,
the steep embankment,
topography’s spin cycle for
economy’s toughest stains.

I have a laundry list, wet
and folded, in my jersey pocket.
Things to do today are
tomorrow’s tire tracks,
as you can ruin a landscape
with nostalgia.

At the intersection of Morelli,
I stray from my lucid route.

Down a forgotten road,
across East Austin Creek,
past where men once prayed to get out
now they pray to go in.
Hold on for prayer on the fall
to Highway One
to the beach at last. Feet numb,
I dive into the nuclear ocean
trailing the dreams of centuries
of young men: Go West.

I rise to the surface in the town of Graton.
Pass the house where I met my wife.

The roads around here are dead,
full of potholes.

Finally east on Occidental,
the sun at my back,
faded paint on the pavement:
So much upon these dead roads I have written.
So much alive these roads have written me.