Off Map by Monique Gagnon German


We took a wrong turn
somewhere near Mobile
where the pretty roads preened
glistening with upkeep
and cops sat visible
under storm clouds and sun
inconceivably bold between thickets
almost every hundred feet.
We marked their saddle-shoe
insistence on old-fashioned rules
with our slowing speed. You say maybe
rehab is what you need as your eyes
keep trying to leap through the sunroof
and your hands shake
trapped squirrels
near the windows,
wishing they had wings.

Before now, we’ve never arrived
together in one conversation.
We pull over, here:
side of the road
hours oozing as we sit on a bank
overlooking water lilies
that calmly snake the unmapped lake
we found but cannot name.
We listen to hidden frogs bellowing yells
between crickets’ high pitched Kreeees.

After 30 minutes of not speaking
you ask, Are we there yet?
And we both erupt, laughing
at our utter lostness. I say, No,
between dwindling chuckles,
grabbing your sleeve but,
Maybe we are finally
at the start line,
is what I think.



If you were looking for it, you’d find Monique Gagnon German’s poetry and fiction in over 30 journals/anthologies including: Rosebud, California Quarterly, Tampa Review, Off the Coast, Califragile, and The Wayfarer. Her flash-fiction and short stories have been featured in: Kalliope, A Journal of Women’s Literature & Art, The MacGuffin, and Adelaide Literary Review. Monique is a 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee for poetry. Website for Monique:


Europe as a Queen Map. Artist Unknown. 

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