Traveling Companion

Poetry - April 8

My most intimate hour
was spent in a motel
during a road trip
on the North Spokane corridor.

We were too close
to the highway,
could feel the vibration
of semis and flatbeds
as they hulked past.

The place hadn’t been redone
in decades—
wood paneling
aquamarine vanity
but the TV was newish
and the picture was pretty clear.

Afterward, we slept entwined
through a couple of sit-coms
until I staggered away
to take a shower.

I can’t remember
how many miles it took
to come to rest with her
in that moment
but it seemed so very real
at the time

except when headlights
and angular passing shadows
distorted her cheekbones
and jawline
into something almost unfamiliar.

In spite of ourselves
we will always fall in love
with barely recognizable strangers,
with those temporary
traveling companions
who truly seemed
to love us first.endcap

Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois with his wife Vickie, and daughter Sage. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee. Writing for six years, his work has appeared in countless publications including The Louisiana Review, Bluestem, Emrys Journal, Sierra Nevada Review, Roanoke Review, The Red Cedar Review and The William and Mary Review. He has poems forthcoming in Hawai’i Review, Sugar House Review, Plainsongs, Free State Review and Texas Review.

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