Kathleen Rooney

Robinson Escapes to the Cape For Independence Day

O little-known facts—how Robinson attracts them!

Pilgrims rocked ashore here, before Plymouth Rock.

The word scrimshaw is of unknown origin.

The stock name of the archaic two-lane main road? Route 6A. Really it’s Old King’s Highway.

Some facts are useless: the paper bag was invented in Dennis.

Some facts are not: Wellfleet’s town clock sings out ship’s time.

19th century Americans observed only three holidays. The Fourth of July was one.

O witty aperçus—how Robinson accrues them!

Good food is self-made, like a good millionaire.

Don’t just do something. Stand there.

It’s got to be the weekend somewhere.

Robinson is crisp & perspicuous. His wife stands next to him on the sand.

Democracy could be a lot more sexy if…this one fades in the rockets’ red glare.

Ann blushes, runs a hand through his hair.

Robinson looks up, concussed.

Fireworks percuss.

At a Motel in the Shadow of a Sad River City

Robinson resents Ann’s placid sleep.

A flaccid inanity keeps him awake:

Now here is nowhere.

None of their East Coast friends would know where they are. Ohiowa? No. Just Ohio.

Procter & Gamble, soap & candles.

Robinson wonders: have we made a mistake?

Ann ordered a slice of red velvet cake for dinner; they are far enough South.

Blood-colored food gives Robinson the creeps.

Light slits in through the blinds, & Robinson is reminded of the day’s near-miss:

Columbia Parkway, with its dead man’s curve—

the asphalt jungle, New Deal art deco—

almost bungled the turn, killed them both.

The busted boomtown used to be known as the Queen of the West.

Ann’s always been as aware as he is of the nightmare—

what happens next & what is left? 


Either she’s forgotten or she doesn’t care.

Pallid. Whipsawed. Robinson needs to rest.

But the more he thinks so, the more his brain goes—

disloyal engine, machining through the ether.