Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Sense of Direction

She navigates. He drives.
It’s been this way
for years. She carries a map
inside her head,
a map of everywhere
they’ve driven to
in all their married lives.

Houses from long ago
they never ended up living in,
gutters where they parked and dreamed
a life that never came to pass,
rental applications rejected,
later, the selling price
always too high.

She remembers
the shapes the street trees made
in distant suburbs
they drove through
to visit old friends
whose names she can’t recall.

No matter how many times
they take a route, he has no
sense of direction,
no language for it even,
while she
can rise like a bird
above the city
see it stretched
before her, behind her
flattening mountains to sea
into the grey lines
of the map on her knee.
He chews gums while he drives
and beeps all the bikes
and says he knows where he’s going
though he has no clue.

Sometimes she gets distracted
by the rhythm of the street names out the window:
Inverness, Maude, Birdwood, Kitchener.
Sometimes there is an imperfect pause between
giving directions
and taking them.
Sometimes she says left
when she means right.
She can steer them back again
along new roads.

From anywhere in the city
she can point towards home.