Song of the New York State Thruway

Blue bridges

Before dawn, and we’re headed west,
throwing behind us the Atlantic,
a wake of darkness, the crescent moon
with her three companions
glowing above sleeping streets,
the sallow November sun rising
reluctantly, and then the Berkshires
shaking their shaggy autumn heads
out of the fog, the last of the jeweled leaves
still clinging, the Hudson river below us,
pewter deep and singing.

We rolled, a whole note on your staff,
all day the wind and the tumbleweeds
embellished, and all day
the tires hummed your chords:
bald eagles, hawks, and broken fences,
mile markers, geese and semi trucks,
bridges, tollbooths, and rain squalls
billboards, speed traps, and
rests.

And gently behind, the steady
chanting beat:
Iroquois
Seneca
Ontario
Oneonta
Herkimer
Utica
Canastota
Canandaigua
Chittenango

Finally, the Niagara’s
crashing percussion,
and the hanging
mist at the border,
and the sweet
diminuendo
just beyond.