Friday, December 13, 2013

"Open Roads" by Naomi Jean Lewis

The road stretches before us with no end in sight.
Trucks rumble behind me, and other families with other stories drive on far ahead.
The speed limits are higher than I’m used to seeing
But I don’t drive the speed limit at home anyway.
I fall in love with golden fields and open skies as my sister falls asleep.
Her cowboy hat hangs behind her and her snowboard slides on the backseat.

She’s still asleep when I drive past the first few wind turbines.
            Hey, Kristen, I say, shoving at her shoulder
            Look at this.
            That’s cool, she says back, and closes her eyes again.
I keep driving, and the turbines keep coming.
The engine growls louder as I coax Ellie
(My sister’s name for the black Honda Element, not mine)
Up a hill and over a crest
            Kristen.

Displayed before me is a sea unlike any I’ve seen.
Giant white monsters rear their heads.
Thousands and thousands of wind turbines dot the golden fields.
They’re not packed tightly but everywhere I look they stand tall.
            Kristen. I don’t know why I need her to see this,
But there’s something about powerful entities
Resting like remnants of another world in the middle of America.
            Kristen, please.
Kristen is awake now, watching the army of turbines stand at attention.
She doesn’t say anything, but I know she feels the same way I do.

We pay tribute to the newly created gods of the earth in silence.
We soar down the road at a speed that makes me feel invincible.
We pray for something we can’t put a name to.

 I drive with one hand wrapped around the wheel and the other on the gearshift.
The turbines don’t stop coming- there are more on the other side of the road.
The sun setting behind them blinds me as the light sets the world aflame.
(They look like angry deities, standing in the midst of Armageddon)
As the sun dips behind the plains, the turbines become barely visible.
(People have forgotten the old myths they used to fear)
The monolithic, man-made creations vanish as fast as they appeared.
My sister goes back to sleep.
We have four more hours before we can stop.
(Although the turbines still exist, miles away, they are gone from our minds.
They were never an army. There was only a cemetery the an empty field.)

(We forget that we have always created our own gods.)

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