Building a route

from nine pages in the guidebook, map-flips still neatly creased,
you strain to decipher promises of quaint. 
                                          Will oceanview sit
on a bald hill, inlet below barely visible like a paint spill?

Does heritage mean women proud to show work grandmothers 
taught them 
            or bored teens who cram long limbs into antique outfits, 
await Nintendo nights, or whiskey in cars on scrubby fringes of town?

Will the only music be what town-folk think tourists want—tarted
up, fat and bloated? You 
                         can eat lobster, go anywhere. Be aware 
you're able to spend in a week more than locals do in half a year.

Build your route—two days there, a whole day for the drive round
the dark line that marks highlands, three days by the lake as close 
to ocean as two strokes of your pen. Build it with montages 

stolen from movies and memory: feet on dash, wind
in your hair         one arm resting on the window-trim
feeling the rush of the curves. Trace a route to withstand

crossness and cross purposes, rain or thick salty heat. Rickety motel
beds and terrible coffee. 
                         Build the route so the trip will finish
itself, paint the window frame, freshen it 

with curtains that can billow in the breeze.

Frances Boyle