The Road Not Taken, by Joe Cottonwood

The Road Not Taken
by Joe Cottonwood

The job, illegal.
No records; no taxes.
The client paid cash.
Now I stop for gas.
In my wallet, a nest of one-hundred-dollar bills.
Thirty of them.
Across the street, a sign:
          US 101
I hold the gas nozzle thinking: North.
At least once in your married, child-raising life,
comes the thought.
The old truck has new brakes. Good tires.
In three days, maybe four, I can be in Alaska
with a truck full of tools.
Pipeline work. No questions asked.
Cool mountains, clean rivers.
To be free, strong, and . . . thirty-four.
Or is it -five?
Inside the mini-mart, I pay for the fill-up
by the wide glass doors of the cooler.
Rose asked me to pick up some strawberry
yogurt on the way home from work.
And—what was it?
Oh yeah. Laundry soap.

Joe Cottonwood is a semi-retired contractor with a lifetime of repairing homes by day, writing by night. He lives under (and at the mercy of) redwood trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. His most recent book is Foggy Dog: Poems of the Pacific Coast.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s