I was missing for weeks when I realised I’d slept through it all,
How far deep in to sleep I was willing to go, to discover the new,
A country of seats by the window, and all my loves could grow
Old without my watch stopping time. In my leagues of unwoven
Inputted lines, I’d discovered America as explorers had not.
It smelt as I knew, like petrol and biscuits, on the orange hillsides
I wheeled on two tyres with my pounds all forgotten, in right and
Left states to the middle and up, this place like a cup or a womb
On the atlas, I traced my cold finger from fallopian down, each
Town with a story, my future curled up in the best of the west.
In motels in distance, I was different straight after I’d washed face
And hair in American soap. I’d needed fresh hair and my shirt tails
Were audibly clapping my leave. Scarecrows were lined up in
Ranks as I drove, not one waved hello, but they all knew my path
As I drove coast to coast, from one lipless shore to another.
I knew I’d be frank here and do it my way, under gigantic trees,
I could be scarlet, the confident Miss in magnolian skin who’d
Not walk on the side, elevate or die trying, collect calls like stamps,
At home, I was tired, grey canvas licking forty old wounds and
In this cooked yellow air, I could be any movie or song that I’d choose.
I’d heard “Be afraid” but I stood like a brave, beaming up at tart lights
On the tips of the towers as cold England intoned on my own FM wave
“No one visits this place to be unimpressed, Everyone wants to leave
Changed or to stay.” And I’d stay, Maine in May, Oregon for the good.
Then I woke with a sobering tear and I knew it was sleep candy alone.
Tessa Foley is a 37-year-old writer and an administrator at the University of Portsmouth, U.K., where she formerly gained her Master's degree in Creative Writing. In 2013, she won the Live Canon International Poetry Competition judged by Glyn Maxwell under whose tutelage she attended a poetry class in London last year. She has since been published in magazines such as Agenda Antiphon and The Fredericksburg Literary & Arts Review and was listed as a finalist in the Poetry Rivals competition. She is currently working on a novel about alcoholism, studying for a qualification in counselling and has recently become a member of mensa. She originally comes from Flitwick, a tiny town in Bedfordshire.