Alice Friman

In Praise of Wandering
December 18, 2017 Friman Alice

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 eighth collection of poems, On the Overnight Train, is a New & Selected due out from LSU Press in February. Her last books, also from LSU, are Blood Weather, The View from Saturn, and Vinculum which won the Georgia author of the year award in poetry. A recipient of two Pushcart Prizes and included in Best American Poetry, she’s won many prizes and has been been published in Poetry, Ploughshares, Plume, Georgia Review, Gettysburg Review, Crazyhorse, Poetry East, Massachusetts Review, and many others. Her website is