230. Driving Home

Dad’s face, it’s
Red as a balloon,
James thought: puffed,
And about to pop.
He’s driving too fast, too,
And Ma don’t like it.
James sat between them,
Silent, in the truck.
He gripped his cap.

Riah stared ahead:
I’m glad at least
James didn’t ride in back–
He’d been bounced out, now,
The way Tom speeds.
But what’s it matter?
Drive fast as you like.
Let’s drive down-state, drive
Till we hit the ocean.
I never want to get out
From this car.
I never will.
Because, when I get 
Out–when I get
Out, there’s something
I’m supposed to do.
I’m sure there is.
Apologize? To someone,
Or to everyone–
“I’ve made a big mistake”–
Messed up again–
And let them laugh at me,
Or scold, or–church me?
No. I must do
Something, though.
What could it be?
I will not look at Thomas.
No, I won’t.

Tom pressed the gas,
And leaned into the pedal.
I see, he thought, that
She can’t look me square–
And who could blame her?
Told her once, told
Her a thousand times.
They’ll snicker at us now,
Till Kingdom Come.
What was she doing,
Messing with that woman?
Who did she think she was?
I swear! And now the chickens,
Home to roost.
Who knows? She’s
Made her bed, yes sir.
She’ll lay in it–though
That same brush will
Tar her, James, and me.

Riah stretched her arm
Far out the window.
She spread her hand
And felt the wind rush through.
Faster, faster, faster:
Take me, too.

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