by Melody Leming-Wilson
Melody Leming-Wilson teaches and writes poetry in the Portland, Oregon area. She has one Academy of American Poets Award and a number of small press publications from early in her teaching career. Recently, late in her teaching career, she has poems appearing in Mojave He[art]Poeming PigeonWindfall, and Cathexis.​


It was a big car, a gas hog, and the Sunday morning highway rolled out empty
before us. The last college toured, we headed home.  

Redding far behind, Portland appeared (finally) on road signs as
we whipped along easy curves past Weed, then Yreka, then Hilt.

We batted the elements of her future around the car—tuition, 
scholarships, dorms. She draped lazily across the passenger seat, 

one foot on the dash, Indigo Girls on the stereo. My youngest,
ready to leave, a success; a young woman almost out in the world, and this

luscious spring morning I stowed our words away for later as we roared along,
insulated by glass and steel—lulled by speed and suspension. She was 

chattering and I was laughing, arcing first left then right when a 
deer appeared, on the shoulder, haunches drawn tight, poised to jump.

All the kinds of care: meals carefully cut, electric plugs blocked, car seats, water
wings. The interrogations of friends, the vaccinations, the blind, brutal love, and I

would not waver. I gunned the great blue sedan hard, its power a wager against 
the intricate architecture of the beautiful, innocent being. I gasped, she looked,

the deer slammed into the window, pressed there a beat, its face 
immediate to hers, both of them beautiful, both surprised— 

then it careened across the median on momentum 
or will as we continued silently north. 

© 2020 West Trade Review
Jack London State Park, photo by Gwyn Coyne
IG: @gwyncoyne
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