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Published: Thu Jul 1 2004
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas
The Long Road

It’s one of those highways you come across late at night. No signs. No
arrows. Just a road running north and south. You pause. You look one
way. Then the other. Nothing. Only the hum of the engine, the chirping
of crickets confirm you are here. You can’t remember where you’ve been.
Where you are going. If it weren’t for the lines drawn through the middle,
you’d think you were drifting down a river. Or stumbling upon a path
through the sky. Remember, it is a moonless night. You are tired.
Hungry. No one to talk to. Afraid that what you were thinking might have
come true. You look to your left again. Perhaps you see a mountain. An
ocean. A lover you wish you hadn’t lost. Spirits that seem so familiar,
drifting in from the dark. You wait in that silence. It may be years before
it is safe to proceed.

David Shumate has published two books of prose poems, The Floating Bridge (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008) and High Water Mark (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2004). His poetry has appeared widely in literary journals and has been anthologized in The Writer’s Almanac, Good Poems for Hard Times, and The Best American Poetry 2007. (updated 6/2010)

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