We left for Cleveland in a driving snow
all cars following the tire tracks left behind –
six inches and rising.
You said Ohio was beautiful and wanted to stay,
but I said it was only Route 90, and Ohio didn’t
start until morning.
So we stopped at a motel without an address,
and I realized it wasn’t me you loved
but that fuzzy velvet portrait of Elvis
hanging above the bed,
just like the one in the hallway of your
apartment back home,
the one left by your former roommate
who decided to move in with the bouncer
at the bar you lived above,
the place with the big salty pretzels I would dip
in a mixture of horseradish and mustard
the same color as the wallpaper in that motel room
when we never made it to Ohio,
the place where I finally realized
that it was those pretzels I loved, not you.
Lou Ventura lives in Olean, New York and has been a secondary school English teacher for 35 years. His first poetry collection, Bones So Close to Telling, has recently been accepted for publication by Foothills Publishing.