Friday Afternoon Stop
While my son drives from near Pittsburg,
I tell him about our German speaking
ancestors on his grandmother’s side.
When he gets near Washington, Pennsylvania,
I point out houses and bank barns,
predating the Civil War.
When we cross the river, I point out
Wheeling, West Virginia to his left & tell
him his great-uncle worked in the steel mills.
I tell him Little Washington behind us
was home to many kinfolks,
& to his right, Steubenville
is where his grandmother grew up,
living with her oldest sister
next door to Dean Martin.
When Ethan stops for gasoline,
I ask him if he can tell how
strip mining scared the landscape.
As he drives along I-70,
I tell him that the landscape
was open wounds when I was young.
He tells me the land is ruined.
I tell him I thought that it was,
but the fields, green with grass
& cattle, have been levelled
for housing developments
He tells me I should take
some time off to come back
Traffic backs up. Six miles later,
he drives past wrecks
on both sides of the highway.