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Maine Roads


On roads within the rivers reach

There comes a careless turn on each,

Where you can see, below, the town.

Ive often wondered what Id find,

A parlor game of a certain kind,

If I took the exit, right and down:


Along with steam there ought to be

A red brick milla factory

That was built to last, that lost the fight

On a River Street thats never far

From water and a corner bar,

By a rusting bridge, by a blinking light.


Id settle there on a vacant stool,

Try not to look the foreign fool,

And when the snowfall comes that night,

Id find a girl with auburn hair;

A girl who might take up the dare,

Deserving better, by her right.


Wed hear a distant whistle rise,

See glasses drained with weary sighs,

And talk in earnest of our plight.

Id ask her then to leave with me;

To cross the bridge where wed be free

Of limits, and that blinking light.


But when she hears the whistle blow,

And glances at the snow that sweeps

Down empty streets as her town sleeps,

The girl will shake her head and say:

"A part of me so wants to stay,


Another me would surely go."


Id like to answer to her fear

Another me would surely care

Enough to stop and visit there

But the road and I are in pursuit

Of other ends; the game is moot.


I understand you well, my dear.


Robert Crawford



1999; originally printed in Compass Rose.
Reprinted by permission of the author.

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