FROM THE BACK SEAT
I had to feel around to position myself.
I touched cold metal handles
and pulled at locks. Sometimes moonlight
streamed in momentarily or my husband
clicked on a ceiling light to check the map.
I could suddenly see the outlines of objects—
a rearview mirror, knobs on the radio—
all out of reach. In the passenger seat
my sleeping daughter’s head rocked
against the window. Once clouds swallowed
the disc of moon or my husband
had his bearings again, the only lights left
were headlight beams shining on the road ahead.
Off to the side were other roads.
Down the road a gas station and, outside,
a vending machine hanging empty.
If the racks inside are still unfilled, the light
still gleaming behind that glass, I’ll break in,
rip out the tiny compartments, shelve
my petite body. I’ll wear a sequined dress
and whiten my teeth, and the light
will illuminate my glittering eyeshadow,
the mica in my blush. I’ll be shipped
from place to place, a treasure, someone
to notice. Among these fields I notice
only the wind, the way it whips
around the house, flaking the paint job.
Julie Brooks Barbour is the author of Small Chimes (forthcoming from Aldrich Press in 2014) and a chapbook, Come To Me and Drink (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Her poems have appeared in Waccamaw, diode, Kestrel, storySouth, Connotation Press: An Online Artifact, The Rumpus, Rose Red Review, Escape Into Life, and on Verse Daily. She teaches at Lake Superior State University where she is co-editor of the journal Border Crossing.