Sorry Roads

Their sorrow is something like
buyer’s remorse. They chose
their paths but now regret it,
realizing—too late—they could

have gone to the seashore
or forests of sweet pines.
But there is one I like, ignored
by engineers, looking like

the sorriest of them all. It’s off
the map in Idaho and rises
and falls, goes over rickety bridges,
seems almost to lose its way

completely but finally staggers
into the yard of the old farm
one sepia evening, the years
peeling back like stripping bark

from a willow. It’s the time
the old man cleared the land
for the homestead and hammered
the old house together

with his bare fists.
Tonight I catch the scent
of sawdust, the new siding still
white as a stripped willow.