Where the Road Takes You

by Bill Meissner


You don’t need a map.

The moment you step out your door,

the road takes you where you need to go:

It leads you to ancient pyramids,

lifting their shoulders and rising from the mist, to

unearthed ceramic faces

waiting to open their eyes to you.

If the road narrows, and detours, follow it

through the green maze of a jungle,

to rivers that roll past

clear as the first sunlight.

Pause there.  Let your eyes drink.


If road turns to cobblestone, then walk on it

to villages where barefoot children circle you with laughter,

where women, selling dyed yarn, wrap

you in deep reds and blues and greens.

Let your mouth curl around the names

of places your lips have only tasted in dreams:

Uxmal.  Chichen Itza.  Tlaxiaco. Chichicastenago.


Carry each of the roads you’ve traveled along with you

in case you need to go back that way.  Keep them

in your dusty suitcase, tuck them

into the folds of your brain.


When you reach each destination,

touch it with your hand print, always remembering

that the closest distance between two points

is the space between your fingertips.




Bill Meissner has won numerous awards for his writing, including PEN/NEA Syndicated Fiction Awards. He is the author of two previous books of fiction, Hitting into the Wind and The Road to Cosmos (University of Notre Dame Press, 2006) and four books of poetry, including American Compass (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004). He is director of Creative Writing at St. Cloud State University. His first novel, SPIRITS IN THE GRASS, won the Midwest Book Award. Also, he loves traveling in Mexico–including San Miguel de Allende–and has visited Merida on two occasions. To learn more about Bill Meissner and his books, please visit his website at http://web.stcloudstate.edu/wjmeissner.


Art by Jim Fuess




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