“To New Paltz” by Beth Boylan

On the road to New Paltz
we stuff our mouths
with sandwiches from the deli
that seconds as a drum shop,
laugh hard, drink up
the wild air
that rushes in from 287
and takes our breath away.
You shriek when Bowie comes on the mix I’ve made;
between your squeezing my hand
and the sign for the Tappan Zee,
my favorite childhood bridge,
I am a kid pinned in blue ribbons.
You point out the Gunks,
the white-faced mountains
that have just peaked from our horizon,
and squeal how we will hike them one day,
swim like fishes in their shale-bottomed lake,
pick their wildflowers for our hair.
In town
we buy records and notebooks,
you lose me in a bookshop
I find you barefoot against a cracking wall
and take your picture,
too beautiful for earth
let alone a photograph.
We sit by the river
and unbox our new compass
you point it North and tell me a story
of being lost in the woods.
You kiss me hard,
and I promise
you will never lose your way again,
that between me and the compass
it’s impossible.
On the way home
we are tired,
the mountains and water
fade within the red blur of taillights
our conversation quiets
our laughter stills;
my forehead on the window,
I peer down into the dark, steep embankments flashing by
and wonder if some promises are impossible
and what they would look like
broken on the rocks below.

 


 

Beth Boylan - To New Paltz resize

Beth Boylan continues to make sense of the world around her through poetry. She teaches English at the high school and community college level, dividing her time between the ocean of New Jersey and mountains of northern Georgia.

Featured image on this post © Bennett North. Author photo © the author.

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