I listen to U2

while the MRI machine clinks into action

and Bono croons

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for,

his voice muffled by the hygienic sleeves

covering the headphones,

his words far away,

poltergeist from the past.


Eyes closed,

I see myself riding in the Mercury Sable,

traveling from Bakersfield to the Bay Area,

Santa Ana winds whipping

my hair into a frenzied halo,

the setting sun gilding

the hills on Pacheco Pass–

their curves round as sea lion heads–

the highway a gash,

the murky reservoir just one of many

promises that won’t be kept.


The road ahead winds serpentine

as we sing

I still haven’t found what I’m looking for

out into the night,

my restlessness the persistent backbeat

pushing us away from here,

the only place

we’d ever really feel

was home.


I can tell you now

I’d never felt so free, so alive,

ignorant of all

I was leaving behind,

though the valley below flatlined,

and the Harris Ranch cows

lowed a mournful warning

I never fully understood until

much later:

don’t leave don’t leave     don’t leave


Jennifer Randall Hotz

Jennifer Randall Hotz is a poet currently living in Pennsylvania.  She holds an M.A. in English from San José State University.

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