Incorrect Maps


Incorrect Maps


Before Google was the state-of-the-art silver Garmin GPS,

Suction cup mounted on the dusty dashboard,

Clumsy thumbs type, backspace, retype.


Before GPS was the trusted Rand McNally Road Atlas,

Sold in strip mall bookstores and on highway rest stop racks,

By cold cokes and barbeque potato chips.


On family trips, I navigated from the back seat.

Before headsets and FM radio,

I inventoried license plates from other states,

Arm-pumped the truckers to beep their horns.


Before the Rand McNally Road Atlas,

We knew the way--

Or just stopped at a gas station.

Tidy smiling man to pump gas,

Clean windshields, and provide the proper route.


When I grew up and traveled alone,

I printed directions from Mapquest.

I memorized each turn and offramp

Before starting the car engine.

But one could also rely on friendly strangers,

Without fear of rape or abduction.


Today I talk to my phone, resplendent in its sparkly pink case.

Sometimes I must say the address twice.

But eventually, the automaton’s voice knows my precise place.



Susan Cossette lives and writes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Author of Peggy Sue Messed Up (2017), she is a two-time recipient of the University of Connecticut’s Wallace Stevens Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust and MothAdelaideClockwise CatAnti-Heroin ChicThe Scarecrow, The Amethyst Review, and in the anthologies Tuesdays at Curley’s and After the Equinox.  By day, she is the Director of Annual Giving at Breck School in Golden Valley, MN, where she secretly wishes she was a member of the English Department.

Her poetry collection Peggy Sue Messed Up and other poems is available at Amazon

Direct Amazon Link


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