Nuisance rain dotted the windshield through West
Virginia, wipers on, wipers off, clouds
hovered close to mountaintops, but Maryland
opened skies to cumulus rabbit ears
popped and listening. Cicadas roared
at a rest stop, and soon windows powered
up, wipers swishing splattered bug guts. By
Pennsylvania, heat hit, and orange
barrels lined the lanes. Semis squealed brakes, cars
slowed, traffic built, crept. I took a turn, let
GPS have its way through small towns with
old stone and brick, unchained hotels, and family
diners. Every corner offered ice
cream. I needed a bathroom more.

Post-Covid, every stop seems dangerous.
Mask, no mask. Travelers smile, but eye each
other warily. Alone too long, afraid, we
venture out, try to remember old ways.
When I arrive, I will need a hug.
Will I ever arrive the same?