Erica Goss is the Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA, and the host of Word to Word, a show about poetry. Her first book, Wild Place (Finishing Line Press), was published in 2012. She won the 2011 Many Mountains Moving Poetry Contest and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2010 and 2013. She writes The Third Form, a column about video poetry, for Connotation Press. Recent work appears in Lake Effect, The Red Wheelbarrow, Passager, Main Street Rag, Pearl, Rattle, Wild Violet, and Comstock Review, among others. She is also the author of Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets, an excerpt of which appeared here last April. Learn more about Erica on her website.
I have never learned to wander
to trust in grass and stars and mouthfuls of air.
If I ramble without keys or shoes
I might meet my ghosts, who always seem friendly
at first. No drifting allowed, no matter the delicious
temptation of the vanishing point. I’d rather hit
a sign than turn an unnamed corner
regardless of its lonesome beauty. And so I study
maps of the world, avoiding
shady groves hung with moss,
or streets tense with empty cars
or large bodies of water. When lost
they say, keep to one spot.
Don’t meander. That’s how you found me
a map of the spirits stuffed in my back pocket.
All I had to do was stay put.
First appeared in Catamaran, Fall 2014