Travel notes - Issue 23 | November 2015


by Sandra Larson

A dinosaur dangles over my grandson at the Field Museum near a pink thumb that pops into the prom picture of my granddaughter dressed in strapless red leaving her house in Medina, and, within seconds, a slinky woman with a tulip-shaped smile waves from a building in Ottawa to a proud rodeo cowboy, one hand over his head, who comes out of a gate which opens into a close-up of white teeth and a row of well-lit Halloween pumpkins that have none, or only one, now compared to a hole from a Yankee cannon ball that can still be seen in a wall of an antebellum mansion where Natchez women in hooped skirts are welcoming some Northern folks, back-dropped in the far distance, with the glow of the blue earth, behind white-suited astronauts, floating alongside the International Space Station, jiggering repairs, unnoticed by Middle Eastern dancers with jewels in their bellies as dazzling as the place settings of crystal, china and silver displayed on white linen under a glass of wine that is imbibed in a bar in Botswana, or at a funeral where more wine than food is consumed by everyone enmeshed in the dress of Cambridge, except a marbleized lion, that gazes into an unoccupied pool with leaves floating face down, far from the royal castle of Edinburgh which rises atop the newer part of town, all lit up, like my Scottish terrier, who sits under the Christmas tree among a litter of packages.  Oh, there goes another foreign city in the glare of blaring lights on a winter night. What city was that? Too late. Move on. The reflections of fishing boats fan out over Fisherman’s Wharf where three engineers in yellow hats stand around with plans in their hands, and, rising above it all—the Golden Gate— towering over a ferryboat that appears with flags stiff in the breeze on approach to Block Island, and, out on the lake, our sailboat lists on a broad reach, about the angle of a jeep with me in it fording a river in Zimbabwe, close to an angel trapped in a stained glass window, uncaring that, outside the door in Honolulu, banyan trees never sleep, keep spreading, unbeknownst to sheep that are being sheared at the Minnesota State Fair, and, just before the screen goes dark, my Scottie is profiled once again against the marsh, just beyond our doorway, dusted with snow, where he is waiting, like I am, to step into the next frame—more countries, more weather, more funerals, the next life.

About the author

Sandra Sidman Larson has traveled to forty-five of the fifty states, thirty-five countries, and all seven continents. Sitting astride the Antarctic Circle and sharing the experience with a seal was a high (low?) point in her travels. Along the way, she has published three chapbooks, two by Pudding House Press. Sandra has been a finalist for the 2013 Lost Horse Press’ Idaho Prize for Poetry and the 2015 Trio House Press’ Trio Award; and a semi-finalist in the 2015 Concrete Press’ chapbook competition. She is an active member of The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis.

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