Back when I didn’t own a world map
I counted states like countries
speeding 500 station-wagon-miles a day
sweat sliding off bumpy plastic seat covers
imprinting bare legs like so many mile markers
logging turnpikes & rest stops
warm pop & sandwiches
fill-up stations
flat tires
scenic viewpoints
wheat fields
cows, barns, tobacco signs
license plates by color
tee-shirt curtains in rolled up windows
I Spy with My Little Eye…
29 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
I’m Thinking of a Word that Rhymes with…
Stuckey’s, Amish buggies
motel pool shimmering
like a six-buck mirage
at the end of a camel ride.


Ellen Girardeau Kempler's poems have appeared in Narrative Northeast, Writers Resist, Phoenix Rising Review, Gold Man Review and other small presses and anthologies. Called 'a timely and powerful selection of climate poetics,' her chapbook, 'Thirty Views of a Changing World' was published in December 2017 by Finishing Line Press. "Travelogue" recalls sweltering summer drives from her Oregon home to her Ohio grandparents' in the age before most family cars had air conditioning.

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