Two Poems

Slick Surfaces—Caution Advised

Peering into the fading light
I guide my car over
the highway, note the suspicious
dark spot up ahead, ease up
on the accelerator to avoid
skidding off the road;
I navigate closer to my daughter
but not too fast; shorten the
miles between us an inch
at a time as weather permits
the snow lessening now
the stars sharp points in the night,
hoping tomorrow’s promised sun
will melt the thin film of ice
loosen her silence,
warm her distant eyes.

Mapping My Life

Street sounds
rattle through my apartment,
ricocheting from kitchen to hallway
reminding me I am not alone
though I have wandered
from home to homeless
and back again.
One day, the map spread out before me,
the next, the lines and roads
dissolved, melted and
slid off the page,
even the land sunk
into the crack of the atlas
as it slammed shut.
I walk a wilderness now
charting the road that unfolds,
mark each stream and hill
note this rock in a field
a petal, a leaf
even the tangible wind
is legended in cartographer’s script
where one inch equals the next breath
and this spot marks the X.

—Liz Rhodebeck, Pewaukee, WI