A Poem About The Service Area

by Amanda Beth Peery

In the service area
where a handful of the families of New Jersey
have pulled off the highway,
the trees are surprising me
with their thickness—
the edge of a secret
or rather forgotten forest
running beside the turnpike.
A small animal occasionally waits,
then breaks
from the velvet shadowed elms.
They press the delicate imprints of leaves
against the broiling sky
as a storm tentatively begins
and one dark-eyed girl, bored with her parents
watches the rain start by the food machines
and swings her arms in loose arcs
like the trees that are now swaying
in the rain and in the wind.
She is just as foreign to me
as these particular trees.
I will never see any of them again.