Summer. 64.

I think sometimes of that bright steamy summer in 1964

when my parents made their move west.

 

How they must have boxed up their little apartment outside of Detroit City –

the every-day dishes and glasses,

the special wedding gifts,

the winter clothes.

 

They probably wrapped up my sister (who was only 2) like a perfect little bow.

Wet goodbye kisses from my grandmother.

Red lipstick stains on their cheeks from my teary aunts.

Sturdy handshakes from my uncles to set them on their way.

 

They headed straight to California – the resting shelf for their dreams.

My father drove through the cold nights, I’m sure, blinking away sleep.

Staring through streaks of anticipation on the windshield.

My mother perhaps hummed to the am radio by his side.

 

They must have crossed days of cornfields through Iowa and Indiana when the

farms blur into one another.

They must have wound up their windows quickly when they hit the dust storms of

Nevada and Arizona.

 

Perhaps she played the music too loudly.

Perhaps he threw his burning cigarette onto the black, hot pavement.

And perhaps my sister cried too much from the back seat.

 

Maybe they let the quiet envelope them as they dreamed separately –

their legs sticking sweaty to their seats.

 

And maybe, just maybe when they reached the cool sparkling Pacific Ocean,

they threw their shoes off and let the sand sift lightly through their toes.

 

Perhaps they kissed, long and hard, in the salty water, with my red-haired sister

shrieking from the shore.