December 21st, 2002

alice facepalm

Episode

posted in greatpoets

Episode

Their quarrel sent them reeling from the house.
Anything, just get on the road and get away.
Driven out, they drove. . . miles into countryside,
confined and bickering, then cold, polite;
she read a book, or looked out at hillside pastures;
once, faraway life came close, and they stopped
in mist for muddy, slow cows at a crossing,
then, tilted, shuddering, a tractor came across;
coldly silent other hours of trees after trees
interspersed with straggling villages--then hot;
her voice pulsing, tempestuous, against the dash,
buffeted, blew up; the slammed her hand down, hard.
"You let it happen--you know you did.
And you make me the bad one--all the time!
I won't stand for it another second." And then,
irrationally, "Look at me, I'm talking to you!"
What half-faced her was mulish, scolded sullenness
--who gripped the wheel and to scare her drove faster,
scaring himself; he felt out of control, dangerous.
Downhill, the road darkened, dropped out of sight.
At the bottom, racing toward them, three lights,
and trees. . . . Remember this, remember this,
she thought, the last thing I will ever see.
Diner, tavern, café, whatever it was.
The car spun suddenly into the parking lot.
She grabbed at the key, threw it out. Shaken, they sat
--while their momentum went on raging down the road.
They knew they might have been killed--by each other,
had someone been up to just one more dare.

- Irving Feldman