Allison Joseph

To Wanderlust
by Allison Joseph

You touch me and I go all directions at once—
wayward, starstruck by street signs
and alleyways, hopped up on a muddy trail’s
unfamiliar suck, jazzed by brick roads
and cul-de-sacs, detours and avenues.
My enemy is the stop sign, red lollipops
impeding progress when I want to run
past their warning onto the next block,
next intersection, next city and town—
all of them discoveries I want to cruise,
rolling the names of dive bars on my tongue,
wiping my dusty soles on the welcome mat
of any family-run restaurant where waitresses
sigh an unfettered sigh and slip me
the biggest piece of pie or cake or chicken.
They too want to be touched by you,
to drop their aprons behind the counter,
saying sayonara to the bus boys, fry cooks.
You make us want to whistle goodbye
to the cash’s register’s clang, the door
bell’s ring, the desk’s stolid chair.
You dance us to the end of one-land highways,
places the GPS shuts off, dots on the map
so miniscule we squint to see them—
tiny etchings on a grid, blue lines like veins.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 1.

Allison JosephAllison Joseph lives, writes, and teaches in Carbondale, Illinois, where she’s part of the creative writing faculty at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her most recent books are My Father’s Kites (Steel Toe Books), Trace Particles (Backbone Press), and Little Epiphanies (Imaginary Friend Press).

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