Rome: Next Exit

Rome was not built in a day;

it was built in a second.

 

A builder started building,

a painter started painting,

a fisher started fishing:

 

Rome–Next exit, 4 hours into

I-90 E

and suddenly, there was

Rome,

Driven by in a second at

speed,

left behind in a second. Not

considered, not for more than a second until it’s in the

rearview. Haunted by

Rome after a second, Stuck on the last exit;

and the next.

 

***

 

This isn’t precisely a new poem, I wrote it several months ago while making the drive out to Ohio for a visit. I’d been writing it in my head on the way back and only put it on paper when I got home.

When you drive long distances you can enter into  what’s called self-hypnosis, also called “highway hypnosis”. While that sounds dangerous, it’s actually more of a hyper-aware state of mind where you react and respond in the correct manner, but afterwards your recollection of the drive itself is scrambled or unfocused.

I thought about this when passing the sign which read “Rome, Next Exit,” and it made me think of where I was coming from and going– two points on a map specific only to me– and all the other points in other people’s lives that I was driving through with no recognition.

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