The Road to Albany

by Judy Swann

I decided to call the guy up
and leave some Dylan on his machine.
I practiced how I would tell him
I was changing my name.

I was driving behind a pickup,
wobbly red butt straight ahead.
To the left the snow-covered hills
and ovals of cradled grain.

Prickly grass still peeked through
and the thin snow came down like fog,
I decided to call the guy up
and say I was coming down.

I ran through my whole address book.
There was nobody else I could call
to tell about the old cow barn
with the three huge fans on the wall

and that cow standing stunned in the mud
with the long wet strands from her muzzle,
and the freezing fog from her nose,
and the grass lobbed over in tussocks.

Santa Claus was up by the farmhouse
with a scarf wrapped around his neck.
The sun shined right in my eyes and
I ran though my phone book again.

To share the cliffsides that cloister
this part of the road from the world,
snow white, hoary recorders of
old violence in sharp rock slate.

I am filled with love for the bareness
of the trees and this hole in my life,
for the roughness of the road,
and the cloudy sky, whose rippling arms
replaced him.