December 21st, 2002

alice facepalm


posted in greatpoets


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