Poem of the Week, by Gerald Stern

IMG_4897Last week I tucked myself behind a long black semi, far enough back so he could see me and my rattletrap moving truck in his big side mirrors. I do this sometimes on the highway when I’m tired or troubled or just want someone else to take over a little of the decision-making. Truckers (with a few exceptions) are the best drivers out there. They have to be. 

After a while, the trucker realized I was following him. In construction zones, he’d slow down a little once we were through, so that I could catch up to him. I was hungry and I had to pee but I didn’t want to lose my trucker, so I kept going. More than two hundred miles in, he put on his blinker for the next exit. Damn. So sad to see him go, sad, somehow, to think I’d never see him again. But he’d gotten me within fifty miles of home. I sped up at the exit ramp to say goodbye, and there he was in the window, smiling down at me, with a thumbs-up and a wave. 


Waving Good-Bye, by Gerald Stern

I wanted to know what it was like before we
had voices and before we had bare fingers and before we
had minds to move us through our actions
and tears to help us over our feelings,
so I drove my daughter through the snow to meet her friend
and filled her car with suitcases and hugged her
as an animal would, pressing my forehead against her,
walking in circles, moaning, touching her cheek,
and turned my head after them as an animal would,
watching helplessly as they drove over the ruts,
her smiling face and her small hand just visible
over the giant pillows and coat hangers
as they made their turn into the empty highway.




For more information on Gerald Stern, please click here.



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  1. Gabrielle McGhee · October 26, 2019

    Quit making me cry so early in the morning …

    Liked by 1 person

  2. alisonmcghee · October 26, 2019



  3. Mim Kagol, a great fan · October 27, 2019

    Alison, I love how you seem to live with a poem always in reach. You give a vivid, homey context of your daily life and then make the smooth leap into a poem that always delights and enriches me. Thank you for this gift!

    Liked by 1 person

    • alisonmcghee · October 27, 2019

      Oh Mim. What a lovely comment. You are right in that poems are always shimmering up in my mind – lines from my favorites come to me throughout each day. I’m so glad the posts are meaningful to you. I don’t know where I’d be without poetry. XO


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