Study Guide

Southbound on the Freeway

by May Swenson

Southbound on the Freeway eText - eText

Text of the Poem

A tourist came in from Orbitville,
parked in the air, and said:

The creatures of this star
are made of metal and glass.

Through the transparent parts                 5
you can see their guts.

Their feet are round and roll
on diagrams or long

measuring tapes, dark
with white lines.                                     10      
                         
They have four eyes.
The two in the back are red.

Sometimes you can see a five-eyed
one, with a red eye turning

on the top of his head.                           15
He must be special— 

the others respect him,
and go slow

when he passes, winding
among them from behind.                       20
                
They all hiss as they glide,
like inches, down the marked

tapes. Those soft shapes,
shadowy inside

the hard bodies—are they                       25
their guts or their brains?