Prairie Poetry   
  A Trucker's Wife

I know he gets lonely.
I know it without him saying so.
So, when he calls from the road
I ask where he is
and he says some name on a map
but names rarely mean anything to me.

He says every road looks the same after awhile.
Every town is just like the last.
He says gas station food all tastes the same,
Cardboard Steak
Cardboard Coffee
Cardboard Pie.

Once in a while he'll tell me about
a conversation he's had in the middle of the night.
Some bored waitress sitting with him in a booth,
and I'm jealous even though I shouldn't be
because he is there with her so far away from me.

He says he's seen the sky all around him turn green,
and knot up his stomache with fear.
He's driven straight into fierce prairie winds,
down roads slicked over and drifted in.
He laughs and says his truck drives itself through Saskatchewan
he doesn't even have to touch the wheel.

When he was eighteen, young and naive, he craved the open road.
He could hardly wait to go.
This was before the boom, now everybody is driving,
but there ain't no getting home.

I went with him one time
a sort of mini-break
He just chuckled and blew out a breath of smoke.
Glad for the company, but I still felt in the way.

One day he'll be forced to come home to me.
I don't know what I'll do with him then.
I think the pull of the open road
will be more than he can stand.
So he'll head out into the barrens
Tim's Mug full (that's how you know
he's ready to go)
And I'll stand at the end of the driveway clutching my housecoat around me in the wind.

Waitin' is my main job.

  Charlene Zatorski
  Copyright © 2007 Charlene Zatorski
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