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Off W, Down V. Enter Arcadia
by Darlene Moore Berg

The road signs of the twenty-first century recede,
escape beckons around a curve, up a ridge
through low-lying mountains, second-growth forests.

The car becomes a gas-guzzling V-8
grasping the road in checked power,
roaring up the inclines, coasting down
the hillsides, skimming a creek.

Trappings of twentieth century America
line or litter the roadsides:
faded barn advertisements,
a truck half a century rusted,
a car the height of 1930's fashion
decorates a lawn of a not-quite
abandoned homestead.

Cows graze rock-strewn fields,
glance idly at my turn of direction.
A deer jumps a fence, bolts across my path.
A box turtle ambles out of my way
the shoulder-less road hugs a rambling river.

I'm approaching a valley
where time inches at a slow tortoise crawl.
I can pretend it hasn't moved at all.
A theater marquee proclaims a title
from my childhood memories.

The village green is grass,
the court house boasts bullet holes
from a battle in its Civil War past.
The stores bevel up to the cracked sidewalk
with goods my hands desire to handle.
Quilts, baskets, candles...
I check into the town's century old hotel,
place my feet in penny loafers, take a stroll—
plan to stay on a long, long while....

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