A few years ago I was driving on I-84, headed home after a poetry workshop, when this happened―twenty poems escaped, flying away like birds.  Their departure reminded me of other things I've lost as the years have gone by.    


Windows Open on a Summer Day

Driving home from the workshop, poems 

in their folder on the back seat, car windows open

at sixty-five miles an hour, suddenly the white sheets 

are rising like egrets ready to fly.

In the seconds it takes me to see their surprising 

migration—pages streaming through the sun roof,  

scattering out the rear windows—I think 

of all the other things I’ve lost:  

my ninth grade teacher’s name, the tune 

of the jump-rope song I knew by heart,

the secret stairways of my childhood home.

My father’s funny dinner jokes escape, 

and the Rime of the Ancient Mariner I memorized 

when I was ten;  from nursing school slip away 

the cranial nerves and wrist bones. Then, 

what it was my son said once, or my daughter— 

the words, the friends, the life I vowed I never 

would forget. Heart pounding, I close the windows 

too late, catching one poem half in, half out,

all the others gone.  I watch this saved poem

billow and settle, captured 

as I speed on, ever closer to my exit. 


Cortney Davis (this poem first appeared in the journal Caduceus)

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