Illustrations by Anna Chamberlin
Driving is good.
It is the right thing to do in most cases.
It pushes spots together like a cross-eyed boy.
When you drive, your toes are the edge of the world,
your eyes a periscopic angle of the rest of your life.
You whir past things, okay?
You grumble clear of woven lakes, better
than their fishes and frogs.
You trample things, opossum and squirrel,
which fight like hell the urge to wait their turn,
use a crosswalk, behave like normal—
no, the vermin jaywalk
Here you may stop to feel their shapes
beneath the chassis,
but then you must start again. Okay?
Look, though, you can play this quiet kit!
Crush these pedals like thirsty leaves beneath you
or tease them apart like the hairs of a handsome boy.
The lights are the same, either
all too much or nothing at all:
a giant bullet streaking through the yellow stripe,
And if you play it just right,
the best machine cocks its mirrors
and shows what you’ve left behind—
this is my favorite part.
Driving is a tired boy
who snaps a dry apology. He is confounding
and dangerous, I think.
Nobody knows him like you, I think.
He gives lazy gifts, never what you want,
but he is fit and smooth and every button caves to your fingers.
He purrs when you press.
He blinks like the real thing.
When you drive, you get where you’re going.
For every hour spent peering over wheels, panting at the heels
of a thousand custom-license-plates,
you are saving yourself
the filthy exhaust pipe of feeling
these moments as they—jesus,
feel it now, how you gulp at breath
like the fishes and lakes, fuck,
There is more to life than this, man!
Driving is safe.
It is missing your exit, clucking your tongue.
You flick your blinker and drift across the lane like a family dog.
You’ll take the next one, you think, and
All at once you do.