Let’s say I’m Captain Cook, setting sail to drift
until currents push me
into a certain lane, certain highway
with its humpbacked traffic bobbing along.
               My young aren’t strapped in the back
flinging Cheerios into the crevices like a game of darts
but moored in the house with my patient wife
so I can seek my destiny here—
And I have no destination, not the Friendly Center
or aquarium—I journey only
to find a usable route.
               I’m stewing the bones a fourth time
to leach any last savor for my
               not gumming pirate birthday cake
with seafoam-colored frosting, nor
placing my order at the drive-thru
(no, not a Frosty, not a McRib)­­—
               Place-names are still to be scrawled,
new-minted to mark
this passage, its weather and bits of luck.
The usable route’s a velvet highway I’ll trace
to parchment—a new day, a new world,
not the GPS lady recalculating—
               These words held in my mouth,
               these words a way to inscribe we are not lost
in a vast expanse of lostness.


Rachel Richardson, "Navigator" from Hundred-Year Wave.  Copyright © 2016 by Rachel Richardson.  Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Source: Hundred-Year Wave (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2016)
More Poems by Rachel Richardson