Voices on the Wind
Voices on Aging
The Long Road
by Leslie Clark
I can no longer even pretend
that the grey ribbon of road
that stretches before me
across miles of lovely landscape
is longer than the endless expanse
rolling back through years.
Journeys traveled reflect in the rearview mirror,
a past of many climates.
Memory makes stops—
in the factory town where I grew,
restless, aching for something unnamed.
Trees arched along the riverbank
more alive than some of the townspeople.
A place where cars passed through
on the way to something interesting.
College—to learn what it is
for a mind to awaken
to possibilities, life’s choices in direction.
A too early marriage—expectations
of two very different travelers
became a hit and run.
Those careless single years
when friends and I
tried on romances like sweaters
wrapped around our slender shoulders,
only to be discarded
on the next leg of the journey.
Graduate school guided me
to a more promising roadway.
Marriage again—this time to an amenable
fellow traveler. A venture toward
new exits on the career highway.
A long distance move
to a beautiful, warmer home.
Recently, the journey has taken me
to live happily on the Pacific coast.
Time has molded my face,
and body, written life’s map
in lines along my cheeks,
hung spare tires on my chassis.
I peer myopically into the distance,
toward destinations yet to be reached.
Persevere—keep the engine
in as good repair as possible.
Read new possibilities into road maps.
Keep those wheels rolling.