At a Days Inn in Barstow, California
by Chloe Honum
It’s dusk on a Tuesday in June. A hot wind
bears down and east. In my room, a stranger’s
hairclip lies like a gilded insect beside the sink.
Hours later, it’s still dusk; it will be dusk all night.
Last month, I cut the masking tape from a box my mother left
my sister and me. On the lid, she wrote, Life is hard, not
unbeatable. If I can do it, darlings, so can you. 2 am. A rosy dark
dusting the window, the heat a ladder into sleep.
PHOTO: Route 66 sign, Barstow, California (2018) by Benny Marty, used by permission.
NOTE: Barstow is a city in San Bernardino County, California, located 67 miles north of San Bernardino. The population was 22,639 at the 2010 census. Barstow was memorialized in the classic song “Route 66,” composed in 1946 by Bobby Troupe and first recorded by Nat King Cole. The lyrics read as a mini-travelogue about the major stops along the route: St. Louis; Joplin, Missouri; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; Gallup, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; Winona, Arizona; Kingman, Arizona; Barstow, California; and San Bernardino, California.