“Road Sign on Interstate 5,” which received an honorable mention in the Rattle poetry prize and first appeared in Rattle #30, is now available on the Rattle website both as text and as an audio recording of me reading the poem.
The simplified tale of this poem’s creation is that I wrote it almost entirely in one sitting. But the more complete story is that it actually represents a kind of revision of several previous, less successful attempts at writing about my experience growing up on the U.S.-Mexico border.
I had seen the immigrant crossing sign numerous times during trips through San Diego. But it was not until I began to explain the significance of the sign to my wife, an Englishwoman, that I realized its symbolic power. My explanation of the human circumstances behind the sign and its necessity left her in tears. Sometime later, this poem came into focus on the page. Enjoy.