YELLOW CONVERTIBLE VOLKSWAGON BEETLE
Pinned in. The seatbelt: a threat just below my chin. I watched
My mother’s hair wind into a frenzy at each gear shift.
Our first trip out once she had rid herself of that pompous
Alfa Romeo. The deadly little gift from my father:
Fast, smooth and cradle quiet. The little ripe Romeo hadn’t
Stymied her minor rebellions, but this car, this car,
She would say, was right up her alley.
Her cigarette burned between middle and pointer finger
While she fondled her wedding band with her thumb.
My mother's hand, a sex symbol reflected
In the rearview mirror, a grownup pinup.
She was always walking en pointe. Keep up
With her? The cigarette blasted cinders in my eyes.
You got another thing comin’ is what she would say.
So I slipped from my belt, pressed into the hot caramel
Seat where I could still see the floor and avoid that
Ferocious hair, a prop from her favorite mad scene,
Macbeth, Lammermoor. We flew past the dump and
The airport away from the city before she slid in a
With her one free middle finger and spun
With the violin ribbons and the bass playing
Tachycardia, seduced legato, choked staccato, until home
Was the last stop left where she was sad as usual,
Soaring inside, flying so high and landing here with me.
With her, there was another thing comin’ always
One more thing comin’.
The sunny yellow beetle creaked
Hot in the drive. The mad scene grew stiff in its shell,
The cassette waited, stuck its tongue out at the driver’s seat.
In your demolition, in the scorch of your captive creativity,
Through all the yellow lights and cigarette butts,
I held on. I held tight.
M. Clara White is a graduate of the Bennington Writing Seminars. She lives in Newfane, Vermont. Her work can be found in RHINO Poetry Magazine 2011, NAP 1.3, Zouch Magazines, Eunoia Review (forthcoming), and Petrichor Machine (forthcoming).