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Two Deep Breaths: The Bellwether Review

Posted by Justin Rigamonti

Continuing our series of poems selected by student editors of PCC’s literary magazines, here’s a post from the 2021 editorial crew of Rock Creek Campus’ literary magazine, The Bellwether Review:

Each PCC campus has its own unique literary magazine, and Rock Creek proudly produces The Bellwether Review once a year every Spring term. What was previously called the Rock Creek Review was taken up by Rock Creek’s Editing & Publishing class in 2011. At this time, the students adopted the name Bellwether in honor of Rock Creek’s notable sheep population on our campus farm. A bellwether is a reference to the bell worn by the alpha sheep of a flock, though by today’s understanding, it refers to one who leads the way. Our editorial team embraces this ideal as we publish The Bellwether Review: we want to initiate artistic expression and foster creativity at our campus and beyond.

We are thrilled to be publishing “Road Trip” in this year’s issue, an exquisite poem by Laura Evans. A post bac student at PCC, Laura is a veteran in education. She first got a BA in Art History in 2008 and keeps coming back for more. Her passion for writing shines through in her graceful use of imagery that’s sure to capture the attention of any reader. “Road Trip” is a poem that allows us to dive deep into the hardship of love and learn how in the sight of danger, only one thing truly matters. This is: “Road Trip.”

— The Bellwether Review 2021 Editorial Team

Road Trip

By Laura Evans

We bore down on the highway,
in a Ford adorned
with bumper-sticker-reminders
of trips we’d taken Before.
Silent hours evaporated
between your father and I.
The air inside was a wet towel,
soaked with the newness
of our triad.

We drove through the Illinois
countryside in a cornfield trance:
a man with new worry lines,
shuffling through playlists
for his old favorite songs,
a baggy-eyed woman, scrolling
through other people’s reviews:
the Top Things To Do in the City,
(with kids),
and you, our mystical cherub
cum carnivorous houseplant,
sleeping newborn sleep,
stinking up the back seat.

The weather went rainy
two hours outside Chicago.
We didn’t think much of it,
until the sky turned violent green.
The car began to rock
in the wind.
Instantly we were strangers,
trapped in an elevator,
hurtling downwards,
too fast.
The tempest was endless.
Your atheist father implored
thunder gods,
his fingers gripped the wheel
against the force of gray torrents.
I could see the outline
of his forearm muscles;
I choked on
my own screams.

And then you started to howl.
I climbed towards you,
was thrown as we swerved.
I don’t remember doing it,
but I made a bottle.
Somehow measured formula,
mixed it.
I swear I saw a twister touch
down across the fields.

You latched onto the fake nipple,
like a nun holds a rosary.
That milk was gravity,
and with every covetous suckle,
you demanded survival.
You made the car so heavy, with it,
you kept us from spiraling
into the eye of the storm.