Threshold


Erika Howsare

June 18
Flatwoods, Kentucky→Madison, Indiana

 
threshold
 
A network of small roads between here and Madison. Corn is a grass. Is an intersection a threshold? Welcome to Kentucky’s South Shore Country. An RV “room”
 
          Practical reasons. Aberdeen, Ohio: the bridge is closed. On the Kentucky side, a
          floodwall.
 
glides out on an electric motor. Corn morphs into lawn through the threshold of category. Every atom a change in location.
 
                                       $1.17 ice.
 
Every bend in the river was a threshold to a traveler who had not followed the course before. Or, (song in my head) as I went down in the river to pray, access to the divine. Psychasthenia: “The body is so tempted by space
 
          The river a highway, not always a reason to stop and build.
 
that it blurs the distinction between itself and the environment and becomes the space around it.” 1 What is more likely: shyness as threshold.
 
                                       $24 gas.
 
          Kentucky: black-stained barns on green, little inward towns with built corners. Tax-
          free cigarettes at the bridge. Driving aimless, sunstruck. Long
 
Bridge closed. Then came to a newer bridge. Following rivers or only mentioning water. Mostly this feels like one large region connected to home.
 
          stretches I don’t remember. Linger in the map room, choosing numbers.
 
                                       $1.05 ice.
 
They began
 
          “we had not proceeded far this morning before Potts cut his leg very badly with one
          of the large knives” 2
 
further west. Easing into phone booth or tent.
 
Then descended to a secret cool space below the road, stood on limestone fossils that dropped away in shallow shelves under creek. Litter. The road occasionally sounding. Remembered to look for the water route. The land flattening between here and Aberdeen.
 
          If truly wandering, thresholds loom everywhere and melt twice
 
Thresholds are access or escape. I forget one of the possible routes from bedroom to kitchen. Oh I’d like to do a real river trip sometime. But borders
 
          a day and on a river now locks make the thresholds discontinuous. “They are now
          ripe of a pale red colour.” 3 I want to get out West.
 
interrupt, empty the smooth intervening times.
 
                                       $14 camp.
 
If getting toward it. “’Wearing’ the map. Like a skin.” 4
 
 
 
_____________________________________
 
This poem is part of a book-length sequence, based on a trip along the route traveled by Lewis and Clark in 1804-1806. The trip occurred in the bicentennial year of 2004. The title of each day’s poem is a “clue” randomly chosen on that day of the trip, and the poems borrow from the journals of Lewis and Clark as well as other sources. You can never step in the same river twice.
 
NOTES:
 
1) Giuliana Bruno, Atlas of Emotion: Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film (New York: Verso, 2002), 40.
 
2) Gary E. Moulton, ed., The Lewis and Clark Journals: An American Epic of Discovery (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2003), 137. Captain Meriwether Lewis, 18 June 1806.
 
3) Moulton, The Lewis and Clark Journals, 137. Lewis, 18 June 1805.
 
4) Bruno, Atlas of Emotion, 30.