A Long Drive for a Short Hike in Maine

by Molly M. Caldwell

You sleep most of the way
like you do most of the time.
From Ellsworth to Machias
I drink cold coffee
from a handmade mug
wedged between my thighs imagining
what kind of person I would have to become
to hold your eyes open
with anything less than duct tape
or my tits, pushed up
near my mouth
where I’d lick them myself
if you asked me.

At the Irving
you miss an opportunity
for those cherry pies. I refuel
on the compliments of a fisherman
& dig mixed CDs from a crevice
in the backseat.

When we reach the trailhead
I wake you like your mother might,
arriving at grandmother’s
for chitchat & lemonade.

Through the woods
the path is flat, you tell me a joke
about a man who fucks sheep.
Light grows between gaps in the trees
exposing jagged cliffs
at the edge of the Atlantic.

I catch my toes
on living roots
staring at Grand Manan
& pairs of seagulls, spilling
like wasted raindrops
from the clouds.
You watch your feet
the whole way to our campsite
stepping on milky quartz & pink feldspar
rising from the mud.

We are walking
through hemlock & pine
the morning after
when you pause to ask me
Dont you ever want to get out
of Maine? Gliding over cities
of mosses & mushrooms
I want to ask you
who funded your hash dreams
the year you chose to sleep
in hammocks hung from ceilings
in Jerusalem & Rome.

Headed west on Route 1
my rusted stationwagon
stumbles through silence
exhaust chokes up hills
lined with homes grown into the landscape
a white cape, swallowed
by uncut grass.