Poem: "Looking for a Rest Area," by Stephen Dunn, from Looking for Holes in the Ceiling. © University of Massachusetts Press. Reprinted with permission. (buy now)
Looking for a Rest Area
I've been driving for hours,
it seems like all my life.
The wheel has become familiar,
I turn it
every so often to avoid the end
of my life, but I'm never sure
it doesn't turn me
by its roundness, as women have
by the space inside them.
What I'm looking for
is a rest area, some place where
the old valentine inside my shirt
can stop contriving romances,
where I can climb out of the thing
that has taken me this far
and stretch myself.
It is dusk, Nebraska,
the only bright lights in this entire state
put their fists in my eyes
as they pass me.
Oh, how easily I can be dazzled—
where is the sign
that will free me, if only for moments,
I keep asking.