Regular Poem: Driving

9 Apr

I’m your girl
for roadtrips
and rides to work
or stopping by the gas station for a pop
and touring pretty real estate
lazily on a Saturday afternoon.

I like driving,
and I’m good at it.

But in my dreams
neither of those things are true.

In my dreams
I’m always stepping on the brake that doesn’t quite work,
feeling my thighs contract as I try to will the brakes into submission;
swerving and skidding so I don’t rear-end somebody
maybe half drunk and definitely all anxious;
straight up monster-trucking over other vehicles
and wondering how on earth I’m managing to do this;
getting into a car and starting to drive and then realizing
there are no seats and the shifter’s a lead pipe;
revving up to six thousand RPM and never changing gears
and worrying the whole thing might explode;
careening over highway railings, whispering prayers
on my descent to the depths of a gully;
pulling stutteringly into a garage complaining
of a weird noise and belatedly noticing
one of my tires is missing;
sliding haphazardly and much too fast on snow-packed rural roads
marked No Outlet.

I wake up and my neck is tight–
my shoulders feel as though they’ve actually been
in that car pressing helplessly backward to try
to stop.

And I get in a car
in real life–
and just for a moment–
the brake squishes
like play-doh beneath me, and–
just for a moment–
I’m back in my subconscious,
back on some precipice
with no control
and no front tire,
and it feels like

everything terrible.

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