Mom knew the routine
when Dad said we had to move again.
She strapped my siblings into the rusting Corolla while Dad pulled me aside.
He’s always said I’m the lucky charm,
the force of good change.
He kneeled down to my height, lifting his tattered map
and waited for my nervous finger to fall on our new home.
My index finger landed on a glove-shaped state,
and his smile crinkled his eyes up like a hammock.
We drove through the night.
My siblings were accustomed to our spontaneous travels
and fell asleep to the hum of the rocking car,
but I stayed awake.
The road cracked and broke everywhere,
reminding me that a new home means new beginnings.
I’d never been good with those.
But Mom told me to follow the moon,
and its soft craters beckoned me to rest despite the turmoil.
Its honey-milk glow lulled me to sleep.
I befriended the moon
with its unspeaking comfort.
Everytime Dad pulled out his tattered map,
the moon would assure me everything would be okay
wherever my finger destined us to go.
While our car swerved potholes and searched for faded paint lines,
it taught me to taste the salty shores of Louisiana,
feel the pink stained cherry blossoms in Maryland,
and adore the peace of the green Carolinas:
our final destination.
We never left.
And with my permanence, the moon subsided.
Its protection was replaced with neighbors that were born-and-raised, school-yard friends,
a home I could dig my roots.
I believed my ties were stronger than before.
I didn’t need the moon to feel safe
in the smooth tar neighborhoods of suburbia.
But as my eighteenth June unfolds before my eyes,
my body ticks waiting for a new future
of rustling papers and late-night study sessions
in a dorm two hundred miles away.
I did not know change extends to my own journey.
And so, as I drive on the brittle roads of Mother nature’s spine
I keep my eyes on the neon moon,
finding solace with my unwavering companion in the stars.