Report from the Northwest
We Lewis-and-Clarked, merry-weathered, rushed
Jumpoff Joe and Rough & Ready creeks,
drove north until it got too lush to think.
California settled among hills and redwoods,
Oregon got smaller, sparser, and more evergreen—
the road sped flatly, passed by mountains but
not in them.
Hell-bent on giving out not
giving up, we didn’t rest, didn’t speak, didn’t
try to outrun but hoped to outlast.
Few people, just life-sized driftwood carvings
of grizzly bears, pelicans, and driftwood,
sold beside the state highway charmingly, we thought,
until suddenly they splintered, shrunk, stopped
being what they represented
and became just what they were.