What is the theme of "Cherrylog Road"?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Quite simply, the main theme of "Cherrylog Road" is love and blossoming sexuality. 

Despite the setting of a junkyard, the two lovers of Doris and the speaker meet there in order to share their love with one another. 

For I knew that Doris Holbrook
Would escape from her father at noon
And would come from the farm
To seek parts owned by the sun

You can see the beauty of their physical and metaphorical lovemaking especially in the touch imagery of the poem.  Note the following words:  "same body heat" and "tender upholstery" "trembling" and "held her and held her" and "Wringing the handlebar."

Other than her lips’ new trembling
I would hold to me soon, soon,
Where I sat in the ripped back seat
Talking over the interphone,
Praying for Doris Holbrook
To come from her father’s farm

There is great anticipation here, and even a kind of suspense that can be found in the best of short stories (but rarely found in poetry).  In my opinion, it is this exact quality that makes this poem quite extraordinary.  Further, it is the love of a girl next door, but she can't consummate their love in the traditional setting of the homeplace, but must come to the neutral land that the speaker is more used to:  a salvage yard full of macho machinery (that matches the speaker's libido).  It is within this setting that the two make love and then part.  The speaker reveals his feelings afterward:

Restored, a bicycle fleshed
With power, and tore off
Up Highway 106, continually
Drunk on the wind in my mouth

Thus, this beautiful experience of love, even in such a setting, restores the body and the soul.  This is expressed here by the young man setting off from the junkyard on his motorcycle, so happy that he is "drunk" with the love of Doris.  He has "power" in this love and in the act of tearing off on his motorcycle.  The speaker is renewed in both body and soul.

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