The Road from Denton to Henrietta

Hi guys! I thought I’d share one of my poems with you today. This fun little free verse piece has been on my mind lately thanks to the crazy winter storms we’ve had here in North Texas. We were iced in for a solid 4-5 days – highways closed and everything! For those of you who aren’t from ‘round these parts, Denton, Henrietta, and Bowie are all cities/towns in Texas. 😉

Back in 2010 this poem received an honorable mention in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies annual awards, and then in 2012 it won first place in the Poetry Society of Texas annual awards. It was first published in PST’s 2013 prize anthology A Book of the Year, and I’m reprinting it here now. Enjoy!

The road from Denton to Henrietta

is barren and pristine;
the yellow grass
is close-cropped and
graying around the temples.
For miles on end
it’s a consistently monotonous
Suddenly – around Bowie –
snow everywhere,
like the time in fourth grade
I colored an immaculate
detailed with hours of patience,
and then decided to make it
“look cold.” With unexpected
relish, I grabbed for the
untouched white crayon (still sharp)
and colored over my page
from corner to corner,
only to find
that I liked it better

© Annie Neugebauer
All rights reserved.

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  • Julia Munroe Martin

    What a wonderful poem, Annie — I’m so glad you shared it. I’ve heard about the Texas icestorms and I know from having gone through them how difficult they can be. Hope you didn’t lose power for too long (if you did). We’re in the deep freeze & snow right now, but we expect it — hope your weather is normalizing.

    • Thank you so much, Julia! Yes, a big part of the problem is how unprepared we all are down here. Snow merits Santa-level excitement, but ice on the roads means EVERYONE shuts down, from schools to banks. Even the grocery stores were closed for a while!

  • Love it! I’m not feeling very articulate at the moment, so that’s the best I can do. 😉

  • Regina Richards

    Cool! Thanks for sharing it.

  • Peggy

    I love this one! It starts out seemingly ordinary & mundane and then turns whimsical! I’ve never read another poet that sounds like you – you truly have your own voice!!!

  • Melissa Crytzer Fry

    Love it, Annie. Texans are like Arizonans, I presume, with uncanny weather: very poor drivers, too! Hard to believe you guys were all iced in and we’ll be in the 80s this week. But, likewise, I was covering plants for deep freezes, just last week. Wacky weather and our fascination with it — which you captured so well from the eyes of a younger you.

    I like it better “hot,” too – hence my choice to move from PA to AZ :-).

    • Guilty as charged! And that just goes to show how crazy Texas weather is, because yesterday it was warm and sunny enough for me to go for a walk with no coat and work up a little sweat — in the same park I sledded in just last week! We warm-weathered gals have to stick together. 😉 Thanks Melissa!

  • Marialena Carr

    Beautiful. I love the idea of the untouched sharp-tipped white crayon! And the liking it better hot took me back to my own childhood of coloring, but with a smile. Hope you’ve been safe with the challenging weather. And haven’t run out of baking supplies! 🙂

    • Thank you, Marialena! I’ve been safe and sound, but I will admit to making more than one trip out for reinforcements. 🙂

  • Hahaha! How adorable – I loved it! Thanks for sharing, Annie. 🙂

  • jclementwall

    Love this one, Annie!