Between Tradition and Deviance on a New Jersey Highway
by KJ Hannah Greenberg

Between Routes 609 and 43,
My car stalled more than motion.
Trapped between pinafores and “yes sirs,”
Yet, wanting no part of briefcases,
Jogging shoe outlets, or soccer fields,
I slowed to park.

Glossies with bouffant hairdos,
Lesbian books of letters, plus
Soiled diapers guarded our chassis,
While we ambulated across colored daisies.
The baby’s Snuggie swung
Amid tack country and city life.

Retired RVers waved down
Our caravan, every one
Military husbands,
White shoes, straw hats.
Then looked away, regarded
Lawns, fat dogs, cement storefronts.

My toddler’s tears returned me
To gas station needs,
Convenience stores, payphones.
The baby’s howl, too,
Reminded, with prescience,
About highway nights.

A tow truck later,
Some chewing gum,
A guilty chocolate,
Home hung the horizon.
Alley cat ideas, all a cappella,
Remained at the meridian.

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