Through the Panhandle

We think of the whole world in temperatures
because numbers describe and delineate,

allow us not just to compare, but to
judge: too hot, too cold, just right, the story goes,

how crass to sweat–worse, how naive not to
admit the heat, the humid sticky

humanness we have (or a chill we feel,
gooseflesh and shiver of warm-bloodedness).

We don’t stop in Texas, find no reason.
Sometimes, it’s easier to keep driving.

We enter a new state plenty soon enough.
My lover describes the change: the earth meets

the sky halfway; greens are verdant, varied;
light and dark, of interest to us again.

Anna Leahy is the author of Constituents of Matter, which won the Wick Poetry Prize. She edited the book Power and Identity in the Creative Writing Classroom. Her most recent publication is the essay “Stange Attraction: John Wayne and Me” in the Americans issue of The Southern Review. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at Chapman University and directs Tabula Poetica and its annual reading series. The blog she co-writes is called Lofty Ambitions.

*Photo courtesy of Jonas Tana.