PoetryIssue 18 | June 2013

Dead Reckoning

by M. R. Smith

It is my unsaid job as the oldest to keep my father awake,
so I ask as he drives if he must move the wheel
to change lanes, or does he just think about it,
-I believe such is his power.

He laughs and takes his hands from the wheel, denying
all responsibility, and slowly we change lanes.
Everyone else is asleep, flung across the car
in minor comfort of seats or the floor.

I blink rapidly and fight off the sandman, who catches
up at highway speed. Deep in the night we cross
the Snake River at Homedale, high bridge steel making
fierce shadows even at the expense of light.

He slows, it is the first turn on the right from the bridge,
I smell mown hay through the windows. From here
he drives by feel, by some power I aim to gain in adulthood,
no lights, no map, a navigation by dead reckoning.


About the author

Mark’s work is published in Camas, Cascadia Review, Red River Review, and elsewhere. He travels extensively in the Pacific Northwest and leaves soon for a multi-week wander through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. He never manages to catch any fish but would release them if he did.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok