DIRECTIONS by Judie Maré

DIRECTIONS by Judie Maré

I found my way to the city center

            following the cathedral spire in.

Manchester's high street led to gothic arches,

            steeple, and stout wooden doors

opening on a dark, deadly-quiet nave with

            pillared side aisles.

I came looking for a pulpit, an altar, a pew

            of meaningful peace. I didn't

have a prayer how to find my way out.

            I found my auto in the car park,

its pay-and-display ticket, magnified

            in the windshield of sun,

lay expired on the dashboard. One way

            streets and blaring horns honked hot,

impatient at my tentative directional ignorance.

            They knew I was a tourist.

Like spaghetti, the winding streets twisted back on me,

            glaring in the sauce of midday rush,

lost in this sauté pan of traffic.

            I must find the road out of town,

flee before the fire of being lost forever

            takes me for a ride.

Asking directions to the ring road from my rolled-down window

            awarded me "You can't get there from here" answers.

I trusted a bright red Royal Mail truck to outskirts

            with fewer cars and open roads.

I often wonder what happened to people who asked me

            for directions, if they reached their destinations―

Oh Lord, will I be held accountable, if they didn't arrive,

            by some glove-handed cop,

center of the intersection, waving us forward?

            If the highway to heaven, although narrow,

is labyrinthine, signs for all directions lead nowhere,

            mean nothing without a pointing spire

and the tongue of a sure arrow.

THUNDERSNOW by John R. Hoddy

THUNDERSNOW by John R. Hoddy