Jetson Whirr

By Louise Robertson

The Prius should make a noise
as it creeps behind school children
scattering across the road,
sunlight and leaf shadows waving
around them.
It should be, as one petition
suggested to Toyota,
the sound of the Jetson car,
a whirr and a dapple of a sound.
But Toyota has done nothing — nothing.
The cars glide out each year,
shark silent.

When I was 11, at the school trip to Kings Dominion,
standing next to a plastic statue of George,
Maria Framingham declared she
had lost a $10 bill and so of course I checked my back pocket
and of course my $10 bill slipped out. Maria
picked it up and said she found her
$10 and I made no sound
and slunk away, my inner petitioner
demanding, “Hey, make a noise!”
And my inner Toyota doing nothing — nothing.

To this day, I think about it
especially at the end of a school year, while coasting
carefully around the neighborhood.
I hope all of them learn how to talk,
to say no to drunk guys so drunk guys can hear it,
and to yell at some not-so-drunk guys.

Sure, sometimes it’s easier
to go through it rather than around it.
But sometimes,
after he follows you inside and pushes
you onto the bed with his body,
you can hook your feet under his
hips and kick the guy off. So he gets
up from the floor and leaves the dorm room
and you think “Hey make a sound,” but you
say nothing — nothing.

And when the yearbook comes out,
there’s a picture of you,
taken ten minutes before
the bunk bed and the kicking.
There you are, sitting
in the grass on the quad.
He stands behind you
watching. A whirring,
dappling sound starts up
in the back of your head
— get out of the road,
get out of the road.

Louise Robertson counts among her favorite publications and honors several jars of homemade pickles she received for running a workshop. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming at Crack the Spine, SWWIM, After the Pause, and other journals. It’s also been nominated three times for the Best of the Net and once for a Pushcart. She also serves as the marketing director, Zoom, and web person for the Writers’ Block Poetry Night in Columbus, OH.

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