Howard Gap Road

Published 12:10 pm Tuesday, December 13, 2022

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Part of Howard Gap Road between Tryon and Saluda

fell down the mountain from heavy rain,

blossoming a series of orange “Road Out” signs

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on wooden barriers blocking the way.

Now there’s a gap that was never intended,

it’s been years and the road has seen no repairs.


Howard Gap was once a main road to Asheville,

its winding two lanes hugged a gap in the hills

as if God looked down and said, “It’s perfect.

There—build your road.”


Just like America’s “experiment in democracy,”

God looked down and said, “Build a nation of laws,”

a rocky road, but we were all on it,

no king would dictate our freedom again.


Those laws are being washed away,

swept onto rocks like robin’s eggs,

as the words that created us fade in the sun,

and we try to decipher what they meant.


I have faith someday they’ll fix Howard Gap Road,

the “Road Out” signs will disappear,

we’ll drive it again from Tryon to Saluda,

though I think it may take many, many more years.


Lee Stockdale