Women Alone in Cars

By Pamela Davis

Do you see us? We park in our cars
all over town. Enjambed between jobs
and laundry at home, we stop time.
Toe-off shoes. Fan our bare toes. Exhale
the poisons of the day. Somewhere
in the car, there is chocolate. Aretha,
Mrs. Dalloway. Men pass staring hard
as cops. One asks if we’re okay. Sorry,
we mutter for the hundredth time.
Beyond the dashboard, the sun stalls
before sinking the ancient way.
An open road is ripe. One summer night
in the Sixties my Dad drove home from Vegas
in a gold convertible he bought playing craps.
Cheerios went limp in our bowls
the morning he came back, presenting
Mother with the car keys. Choking them
in one fist, she slammed out, gunned
the engine’s 385 powered horses
and thundered off. It became her way.
We were always left listening for the Pontiac’s
brakes to screech at the end of our street.
Tonight I point my car north and turn up
“Respect.” City lights leak out my rearview mirror.
I’ll be gone an hour or half the night.
Virginia was wrong. A room isn’t enough.

Pamela Davis is a poet living and writing in Santa Barbara. Her book Lunette won the ABZ Prize for Poetry. Davis’s poems appear in Prairie Schooner, Asheville Poetry Review, Poetry East, Nimrod, Smartish Pace, and Streetlight. A founding member of the Independent Writers of Southern California, she is a previous winner of Atlanta Review’s International Poetry Award.

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