My Father's Car

by Jennifer Clark Evans
(Fredericksburg, VA)

I crashed
my father's car
when I was fifteen.
"You can take the car
for the day," he said
"if you pick me up
from work." The terms
reasonable, I
eagerly agreed.

The downtown expressway,
a tangled cobweb
of swiftly moving traffic,
confused me.
The overlapping
overpasses intimidated
and every wrong
off ramp led
to bad neighborhoods
with no hope for reentry.

This much be the exit,
I thought, unsure.
Paused behind a Toyota Camry,
I waited my turn
to enter
the unbroken flow
of rush hour.
Watching the speeding cars,
calculating the precise moment
of my merge,
I neglected
the stopped one
in front of me.

A confident push
on the pedal
took me straight
into the back
of the one in front of me.
She hadn't merged yet.
I totaled
my father's car.

Waiting anxiously for him
at the nearest Shell station
in the bad neighborhood
off the wrong ramp -
I waited and worried.

I don't even know
how he got there.
Finally, my dad came
to me with
open arms
and said:
"I'm glad
that you're alright."

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