Here I Weep

Published in Poetry Expressed (January 2016)

 

We look straight ahead while I drive,
you next to me, curled into your coat
against the chill of summer.
You are always cold now.

And I remember, years ago,
giving driving lessons to your first grandchild.
How, looking straight ahead,
we could share the passing world.

So, I test the “how to talk to teens” advice
that had served us well—
to do it in cars, where eyes naturally do not meet.
What else do I know to do?

Eyes on the road,
I say there are options to weigh,
second opinions to seek,
factors to consider, steps to be taken.

You bristle,
and I remember my first disorienting look
up into my son’s face.
His first bending down to me.

I try again.
Find a new voice for this unmapped moment.
I drive and ask questions
about what is next, what you want, what you fear,

while I focus on my well-timed lane changes,
gentle stops,
smooth merges,
and think, I can do this.

But on the plane home,
I am lost.
No driver’s illusions up here,
where all is surrender and faith.

We sit, looking straight ahead,
my row-mate and I,
busy with laptops and crosswords and page-flipping.
A stranger, but still,
I hope he does not notice
I am weeping.