Your Map: A Test

Mary L. Holden
3 min readJun 18

There’s no map for you to follow and take your journey. You are Lewis and Clark. You are the mapmaker. ~ Phillipa Soo

Thirds: Atmosphere, Asphalt, Awe. (Arizona landscape image captured by the author.)

The M in “map”
needs up-down skews.
It styles you
to make new news.

The W
in “where,” “when,” “why”
asks you to look
for when to fly.

You have an A
before this test!
Let P of “path”
take you far West.

What will you pass?
Whom will you see?
Will you turn East?
Did you agree?

Even ants put their best little faces forward during the Day of the Dead celebration in Tucson.

Did Columbus
eschew compass?
Did Edward Hale
lose Nolan’s trail?

Humans know where
nothing’s going
and so they write
to keep growing.

What is a map
if not story?
How do questions

came before cars.
create memoirs.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Years ago, a wise man told me to “throw away the compass.” He said it was what Columbus did when he went “more than a 90-degree angle away from shore.” The advice was meant to inspire me to throw away the idea of a map and just keep putting one foot in front of the other. Physical feet are one thing I’m grateful for, but poetic feet also are deserving of deep gratitude (in my opinion). Lately, both types of feet have made me feel exhausted. Walking through life, doing all the observing, working to condense it through the powers and weaknesses of words and letters, writing, reading…being. These poems were written as an attempt to spend time in creativity every single day. Even if what is created evaporates into thin air, or, similarly, ends up being posted on this platform.

Are you exhausted too, my friends? Are you asking, “What’s next?” and being wary of the answers? How will we keep using our “feet?”

By the way, Edward Everett Hale wrote a short story about a soldier named Nolan in “The Man Without a Country.” It was published by The Atlantic in December 1863, and is about treason. Nolan’s most famous statement is: “I wish I may never hear of the United States again!” and he is exiled to live upon various boats at sea. The crews of those boats were admonished to never speak to Nolan about the United States. As he gains wisdom in age, he tells one young sailor, “Remember, boy, that behind all these men… behind officers and government, and people even, there is the Country Herself, your Country, and that you belong to her as you belong to your own mother. Stand by her, boy, as you would stand by your mother…!”

Well, thank you for reading. If you did…. And thanks to all the people who’ve ever “followed” me here on because you are appreciated, even if you’ll never know it.

Mary L. Holden

A constantly evaporating editor and writer. Believer in medium since 2013 when they made me wait for an invitation….