|Highway shrine built in 2002 for DWI victim, Danielle Romero|
You find them along expressways,
on the curves of country roads,
at city intersections harboring a patch of grass,
anywhere forty thousand of us die each year:
rough wooden crosses, wreaths
bright bows, plastic flowers
children's toys, photos.
Some tended regularly
some shrouded by weeds,
they promise, "You'll be in our thoughts"
"Love you forever," "We'll meet again."
Christina Johnson, an only child
died ten years ago--three months
short of high school graduation,
her shrine a four-foot cross
trimmed often in artificial flowers.
Driving past that spot
notorious for black ice, I imagine
her parents' lives and want comfort for them
and some lesson for us
in keeping the grief of highways
palpable and public.
Carol Sanford, a former teacher, lives in Michigan and writes poems and fiction in the loft of a cabin she and her husband built in the woods.