Caribou Highway

We smoke with our backs to the wind, beat our fists
against the past, have stand-up sex
in the shower’s one-man stall. While the dog
shivers in the truck below deck, we camp
in the solarium, a night and a day
on the Matanuska ferry, then run along

the Skeena River in thermals and Extra-Tuffs,
the dog leaping snowdrifts to pee at every stop.
Beneath the ice-packed road
the ore contracts, we hear it screech
across the fault we travel. In heavy snow,
in studs and chains, we lose traction,

slide to the right down a left-leaning curve,
mountainside shearing to a fir-stippled valley.
A snowbank stops us, weeks of winter
bouldered up by the plow, forming
a wall that is softer than freefall,
harder than angels we sweep-shape

in white, waiting for a traveler to come along,
stray-stuck lovers stamped in snow.
The ground begins to hum—a grader
chugging upslope, a driver who winches us free.
We creep downhill, wheel tracks unspooling
imagined wounds behind us.



Screen Shot 2014-11-09 at 10.47.40 PMJenifer Browne Lawrence is the author of One Hundred Steps from Shore.  Awards include the Orlando Poetry Prize, the James Hearst Poetry Prize, Potomac Review’s poetry award, and a Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant.  Recent work appears in Los Angeles Review, Narrative, North American Review, Rattle, and elsewhere.  Jenifer lives in a small seaside community on Puget Sound, and is co-editor of Crab Creek Review.

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