In Praise of Wandering



You ask how we do it. Simple.
We travel light. Our stash—peanut butter,
jelly, bread. When we can get it, cake.
We’re not fussy. A clean knife
is when I lick it. A very clean knife?
We both lick it. Noon, we start
looking for a picnic table or flat rock.
Midges or bad weather, we eat in the car.

This time, the car’s name, front and back,
DDX75. A wee car, baby car, raised
on Iceland’s clean air, sucking it in
like arctic milk. Our wheels of fortune
bouncing the lupined-lined roads,
riding the gravel ruts of the highlands,
battling the ocean-driven winds. A car,
white as the snowpacks of the interior
and as dear to us as the waterfalls,
the wild swans, and the redshank
with orange legs who chip chip chips
loud enough to drown any murmurs
that might leak out through a keyhole
or under a door.

Reader, you may ask,
what door, what murmurs, and where
have these lines taken us, or the car,
parked now on a side street, basking
in Iceland’s twenty-four hour light show
they call a day. If there’s a message
to squeeze from this poem of wandering,
it’s to be awake to what makes it possible.
And to the sun that makes all things
possible: our beloved battery that spins
in place and never wanders, ever ready
to hold a spotlight steady for us to love in.



Alice Friman’s sixth full-length collection is The View from Saturn, LSU Press.  Her previous collection is Vinculum, LSU, for which she won the 2012 Georgia Author of the Year Award in Poetry. She is a recipient of a 2012 Pushcart Prize, is included in Best American Poetry 2009, and has been published in 14 countries. Friman lives in Milledgeville, Georgia, where she was Poet-in-Residence at Georgia College. Her podcast, Ask Alice, can be seen on YouTube. Her website is

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