By the time you get to the
concrete bridge (once aged wood and musical bolts)
the road noise rumble is settled firmly in your ear canal
and the car seat long stopped being comfortable.
It’s a dirt road now, trimmed with teenage gum droop
and you ride the roller-coaster of turns and dips,
past the old quarry where we stopped to piddle
and the kids discovered a maze of golden orb webs
like star-centred gates between the black trunked trees.
And there’s that great apple box forever dropping
its brittle bones onto the road. You take the left
at a fork, through a gateway and wizz along on beaten sand.
Over a cattle grid near the higgledy piggledy letterbox queue
and then around a gully with smattered farm buildings
and past the rust-streaked hay shed in its squat sureness.
You will wind down your window now because you're going
more slowly and the wide spaces beg for your nose.
Then with a splash, you’re amongst willows,
knee high kikuyu, the burp of frogs,
the pop of crickets and a glut of sometimes-creek puddles.
You’re almost there now, just the long sweep upward
over swales and cattle pats to “the locked gate”
where you must get out, figure out how to unbend your hips
and knees and drag the gate to open.
And then, please, just stand and look where you came from
all that rolling grass leading your eye
into a mural valley with pale-edged sky
resting so lightly on tinkered verdigris hills
The gold snake road slips away, a pretty perspective,
and the vast cool dome of nothing, invites you to breathe
slow as the mountains. Perhaps they are
the drivers who just never climbed back in.
Written for Miz Quickly’s “All the Best Places” prompt (Oct 6)