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Lacking Trees - Lindsey Soliday

It was a beautiful Friday morning the day Janna and I ran away.

It was also the day after I vowed never to write about another tree as long as I lived.

I was getting cabin fever, and Janna needed a break from her studies,

So, we got together and pooled our money.

She wanted to go somewhere new and intriguing;

I wanted to write about something other than trees.


So we stocked up on bagels and peanut butter

And crackers and sesame seaweed snacks,

Loaded the cooler with Coca-Cola,

Tossed in some carrots, and cheese

We threw some clothes in a suitcase,

Grabbed some batteries and books,

Picked out a few movies we knew Netflix didn't have

And stuffed in the bean bag for good measure.

And then, off we drove under an Earl Grey sky,

Sipping our Dutch Bros and munching cheese danishes,

Thus we set off into the early morning breeze

To find something to write about other than trees.


We arrived in Hatch, New Mexico just in time for lunch,

So, we stopped at Sparky's to grab something to munch.

Perched on the top of the building was a stout little man

Proudly holding a juicy hamburger aloft,

The Statue of Liberty of All Hamburgers is he,

Proudly declaring freedom from MSG!

Or, perhaps, he was just a piece of advertising;

If that was his purpose, it certainly worked on Janna and me

We ordered some chili-burgers and chili-pepper iced tea,

And sat down at a small table near the restroom.

We made friends with the patrons all waiting in line

Which happened to form near our table.

By the time we had finished out burgers and tea,

Our Facebook Friends List had grown to 903.


We reached Albuquerque near sundown,

A city so wonderfully lacking of trees.

But, Janna groaned at the sight of the city.

I got the impression she didn’t think it was very pretty.

“What is your problem?” I asked.

“The view of the city is so lovely at night!

It all comes alive with such brilliant bright lights!”

“But, trees are important!” Janna growled,

“We need them to breathe.

And other animals enjoy the shade of their leaves.”

She licked her lips at the thought of fresh meat,

But, I was too busy enjoying the lack of trees.


We climbed up the great twisting and turning

Configuration of L.A. style overpasses

And sailed high above Interstate 40

Between twinkling city lights and a hazy blue sky.

We ordered some pizza, and checked into a hotel,

And settled down to watch Matthias ring the Great Joseph Bell.

Cluny fell silent at last as Joseph gave his last great GONG,

Then, Slagar arrived to drag the poor little children along.

“Can you believe this is a kid’s show?” I asked.

Janna shrugged. “I guess PBS knows best.”

Mattimeo and his friends had just escaped

When we finally decided that it was getting late.


We had breakfast at IHOP and hit the road by nine,

Finishing our coffee under a pale vanilla sky.

We stopped off in Santa Fe to visit Loretto Chapel

And figure out the way to our next destination.

The Santa Fe architecture gives the city a Southwestern flare,

With vegas, and flowers, and lampposts, and stairs.

Indian girls danced around the streets, frozen forever in copper,

And Atlas balanced an iPod on his big, broad shoulders.

I wondered how he managed to carry both the Earth and his iPod,

Or will he eventually discard us for modern technology?

If he’s listening to Simon and Garfunkel

How does he manage to keep us aloft?

How long can he carry both items all day

Before the Sound of Silence sweeps him away?

Which is heavier? Earth or technology?

Rock and stone or constant software updates?

I think he’ll choose Earth in the end, though

Because his model of iPod will soon be obsolete.


Santa Fe was unique in so many ways,

We probably could have stay there the rest of the day.

But, Amarillo’s burger challenge was calling

As was the Western Hemisphere’s Largest Cross,

So much bigger and taller than it needed to be

And so very much cooler than any old tree.

On the way, we passed Tucumcari,

And I wondered how its name came to be

I wondered about this all the way to Amarillo,

And beyond that to Groom.

Now, I’m looking for a Bride to go with him.

Texas is such a big, massive place

There must be a Bride out there somewhere.

It’s not good for Groom to be all alone.


Groom, Texas is the bearer of the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

Looming far in the distance, gradually growing the closer we got

A towering reminder of His Unending Love and Grace

To be seen for miles all over the place.

A representation of a much different Tree

Than the ones I was tired of writing about.


We finally bore down on Oklahoma City,

A place so wonderfully lacking of trees!

We found a nice campground and folded down the back seats,

Then settled in for the en evening of bagels and tear.

We watched Doctor Who season two,

And the end left us feeling blue,

Then we started season three,

Because we had nowhere to be in the morning.


The next morning, we stopped at Pop’s to refresh out soda stock,

And pulled over at Braum’s for some burgers,

The only way we know our frappuccinos were kicking in

Was when I stared singing,

“We stayed at the DoubleTree in Albequerque!”

At the top of my lungs.

That was also around the time Janna decided to take over the wheel

Because I was acting too hyper to think straight or drive.


At around 2pm, we pulled over for gas

In Little Rock, which I think was most randomly christened.

We never did find the small mineraloid for which it was named

Which I found rather disappointing.

We went into a convenience store to stock up on hand sanitizer

And some of this clear liquid stuff they call water.

They say it’s good for you, but I wouldn’t know,

We only bought some because our Coke supplies were getting low.

We beefed up our stash of turkey jerky,

And grabbed some grab bags of trail mix.

Janna bought a Dr. Pepper.

I bought a lottery ticket.

“What on Earth do you intend to do with that?” Janna asked.

I shrugged. “I just thought I’d test my luck.”

“How will they even find us if you do win?”

“We could always have them send it to Atlas.”

“Atlas? Why him?”

“He’s going to need a new iPod on of these days.”


We continued on day after day,

Through Louisiana and Mississippi

Along sandy shores with crashing waves,

Past New Orleans and Biloxi.

Listening to music, laughing at jokes

Marveling at beaches and streetcars and smoke

Counting the license plates, reading road signs

Regardless of life or the passage of time.

On further we drove, through bright days and cold nights,

Down star-studded asphalt, under amber street lights,

Past enormous oil wells,

Through bustling cities and streets,

To find something to write about

Other than trees.

 

Lindsey Soliday is a writer, crochet wizard, and cat mom who daylights as a night auditor at a Tucson area hotel. When she isn't providing excellent customer service to a variety of guests from around the world, she is usually off plotting dastardly deeds of creativeawesomeness or working on her full-length novel. This submission is for Poetry.

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