Anna Girgenti

Memory of Highway 20 West
by Anna Girgenti

After dark, crossing the Mississippi
into Iowa in a black car,
your palm opened up to me
from the passenger seat
and I was amazed
the way a hand can curve
like a tongue in my mouth.

All this you whispered over
a running river, girl lover,
your eyes two full moons
toward which I turn the wheel:

Here are your construction men
working late, you said,
the dairy farmer, and the lone
trucker who smokes cigarettes
sometimes and whose weight
you once measured by the darkness
of the bruises on your winter hips.
There is the liquor store, its
blinking sign, and the town
which we cannot ever return to,
which has seen your lips pressed
to my cold ears in mid-October,
which is not really a town
but a maze of iced sidewalks,
quiet dive bars, the park next
to the house in which we first
made love, and the second house,
and the third.
Look east toward those phantom
hills, driftless as we have been
all our lives in search of
a new shape

and the cathedral

I hauled you from, weeping

forgiven, forgiven.


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 2.

Anna GirgentiAnna Girgenti is a Midwestern writer who’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction has appeared in Susquehanna Review, Polaris, The Oakland Arts Review, and Plain China: Best Undergraduate Writing Anthology. Her first poetry chapbook, “Asking for Directions,” was published by the University of Iowa in 2018.

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