Awake between them in the front seat,
guardrails flashing past — mother crossing her arm
over my chest in case of impact, whimpering
as he barked, Should I smash into this post?
Silent between them, I watched the road
for those neon signs — not the red ones
flashing No, but the liquid green Vacancy,
promising, in a night carved from tar,
someone waited up for us, someone
had keys for every hook
and would call us by our names.
by Rasma Haidri
Rasma Haidri grew up in Tennessee and currently makes her home on the arctic seacoast of Norway. Her essays and poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Passages North, Nimrod, Kalliope, Sycamore Review, Runes and other journals. Anthologies from, among others, Seal Press, Grayson Books, Puddinghouse, Bayeux Arts, Bluechrome, Marion Street Press and The Chicago Review Press have also featured her work. She writes a Norwegian language slice-of-life column for a regional newspaper, and has authored two English college textbooks in Norway. Her writing awards include the Southern Women Writers Association emerging writer award in creative non-fiction, and the Wisconsin Academy of Arts, Letters and Science poetry award. The poem "Vacancy" is part of her manuscript-in-progress entitled As if Anything Could Happen.