Construction Literary Magazine

March 2019: Conflict & Displacement

Family Road Trip

Family Road Trip
Photograph via Flickr by Bryan Ungard


You’re pretty sure it’s sagebrush
green blasted and bleached

by the sun. It always reaches
to the horizon no matter where

the car points, clouds cast
shadows shaped like tortoises

that crawl across the desert.
Something subtle switches

as you cross: Joshua trees gather
then a sea of cacti no higher

than our knees. Husband
at the wheel, son singing

in the backseat, and you
fiddling with the car’s climate

press blue down for cool, red
up for hot. What you would die for

is already with you in a wagon
almost paid off. To ask

who you would die for will
never come to pass. The light

is long this time of year when
the border collects migrants who

had to answer: they found
an empty water bottle and photos

of children in the man’s pocket
but had no idea who to call.

NOTE: Previously appeared in Pittsburgh Poetry Review