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Interstate, 2016
Gilbert Allen


Mist of summer mountains, and the successive sighs
of 18-wheelers to our left, leaving us alone
in cruise-controlled silence, when Barbara wakes for a moment
without opening her eyes, on the passengerís side, whispering
Where are we.

I glance at the vanishing sign, green with white letters, and say
Just passed Hope.

And now itís still summer
but 1973, Madrid, rush hour in another language,
back on the subway tracks
where Iíve fallen from the door of that first car
she just entered, as the train starts its deep
sigh, mandated movement, Spanish keening past
as I pin my own body to the side of the tunnel, a chrysalis
22 going on 65, realizing sheís gone
pastóto return an eternity

later, tearfully, from the next station, to find me
resurrected, pulled back to the platform, blackened but still
entire. Ready to hobble to our hotel, shower, change,
take the midmorning train to Toledo, climb its stone staircases and smile
for our camera in a strangerís hands, then move
from that snapshot flash forward together 43 years

to find ourselves in a Toyota Camry, far beyond Hope, on the tail end
of a reality burgeoning enough to be blessed
at 65 miles per hour, in our own United States, with her peaceful sleep.

© by Gilbert Allen.
Used with the authorís permission.

A longtime resident of upstate South Carolina, Gilbert Allen feels lucky to be alive. He and his wife, Barbara, enjoy gardening, poetry readings, and visiting with family and friends. Gil's most recent books are Catma (a collection of poems) and The Final Days of Great American Shopping (a collection of linked stories). Learn more about him at


Post New Comment:
Lori Levy:
Really captures the Madrid experience. I felt like I was there!
Posted 07/10/2018 12:34 AM
Travel in Spain can be difficult!
Posted 07/09/2018 07:21 PM
Posted 07/09/2018 08:56 AM
Bravo! Phebe Davidson
Posted 07/09/2018 07:49 AM

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