Driving in Winter, 1960
Our car with no heat, an igloo
on wheels. Ice spores on windows sprawled
into frost ferns we could autograph with fingernails.
The loneliness of the back seat as great
as the distance between the two frigid poles.
Letters chiseled their way out of cold chests,
floated to the back seat in titanic strands
of frozen words that ripped our hulls.
Twice along the way we drifted through
warm harbors, two booths of light,
one smelling of roast beef, the other apple pie.
My father dropped a quarter and it rolled to my feet.
I picked it up and placed it on the woman’s soft skin.
The crunch of ice beneath the tires lost its voice.
Now, when I cannot dodge the solstice of solitude,
I think of the hearth on the turnpike,
the touch of the toll-taker’s hand.