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Back Roads

After a brief violent storm toppled trees,
deep rooted ones, splayed crowns
across the roads, root balls,
the buried double of the crowns
pulled up as walls of loam in air,
and young ones blown down too,
I drove out to meet my wife and found
most roads blocked, but I knew
the country threeway and fourway roads
like the veins on the back of my hands,
rivers on a map, and I found my way
by zigzag and backtrack till I arrived.

As a child I stared at my father’s hands
in fascination at his bulging veins.
With trivial variations this design
is the common one—rivers that join
at the wrist and tangle up the forearm.
That I can tell my own from anyone’s
is the clinging illusion of uniqueness
given the superior child, the first son,
the golden son. I still navigate by this.

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