ice roads

you cannot read your way into being a good driver
the awful irony
the only way to ensure my son can drive on
icy roads with some safety
is to send him
onto icy roads to learn
the only way through is
we say often
in fact we
have the words emblazoned in the dining room
I read them every time I pass
all day long every day
my feet a trail alongside the
muddy paw prints
dogs, too, play in the snow
at their grandmother's I remind them
to pick the crumbs up from the floor
there are no dogs here to lick up the mess
or the wounds
of living
Grammie's head scarf a reminder that
hair and health is temporary
you cannot read your way into
though my sisterĀ 
has read her way to Recovery
I picture my son driving scared and wide
eyed down snow covered back roads
when the interstate closes for the fifth
time this month and
for some reason my mind wanders to
your lips down my spine
trails of exploration
a million what if turns on a lifetime of highways
it's hard to know you are lost when you feel found
I resist the inclination to join his father in the truck
trailing behind tail lights and
watching for black ice
years of experience driving the unknown
mapless and wondering
is this the way
is this the way
watching for brake lights or
following far enough back that he'll never
know unless he needs recovery
you cannot read your way into being a good mother
but this too is joyful in the right conditions
survivable in the worst
driving unknown and mapless
is this the way
is this the way