Bio Note: October marks my sixth anniversary of having been published for the first time in V-V. I miss my friend Firestone; we are so lucky to have Jim Lewis to carry on. This is a poem that includes Zombies, which I know nothing about since Zombie-movies scare me too much to watch. It's mostly about my daughter, who these days talks to me much more than she did at the time the poem portrays.
Night Drive with My Daughter
She’s late—God knows for what— and you’re stuck behind another damn truck on the Staten Island Expressway. You’ve tried everything to calm her but nothing you say is what she wants— your very existence makes her mad and why the hell not? She’s sprawled in back and leans against the door, though you’ve told her, again, she might fall out and you’ve loved her so much. Her headphones make her deaf to any appeal and more dear to you now as a consequence, her imperfections suddenly undisguised, human and forgivable, and not having been visited upon her by the same foreign power that brought her her womanly body and wild hair. This is not exactly what you’d hoped starting out, and certainly not here in Staten Island, the cheap malls where no one ever goes built on our own shit and rusted bumpers and bustling with the busyness of zombies who you’d accept as means to an end because it might never get better than this— a truck falling over on you as you pass if only to leaven the silence and your brains chewed up while waiting for the cops and the two of you rising together holding hands the way it was when she was four, and now finally forgiving your sins, and though you haven’t spoken of it for years you arrive some place like heaven because it’s something you both can understand, since nothing else makes sense and maybe you could tolerate each other there and be together again. Oh, and long as we’re dreaming, let’s make it a beautiful view of the sun coming up over Brooklyn, as the long hauler we’re tucked behind rattles and reels and the wind winds you up on the overpass, your day-old coffee sloshing in the Styrofoam cup, your daughter weeping in back, her head gently keeping time to what she feels and what, from this time on, you, of all people, are never to know.
©2021 Alan Walowitz
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