Think of my mother as a 1979 MGB,
pageant blue with tan interior. Great engine,
solid transmission, but the cloth top leaks. The electronics
are a mess, especially when it rains. Picture a few dings
in the doors, a large dent, and an overfull ashtray.
Think of my father as a seventy-four Bel Air,
military green, black-wall tires, reasonably clean,
four-door, with enough miles to show some wear, but not so much
to cut into resale. No cigarettes, just a five-by-eight
memo pad ready with two pens on the bump on the floor.
Picture them both parked in the red-shuttered, white brick house,
my father removing his practical tie, cruising
through the door, one more obstacle to be thrown back,
my mother reaching for a ride, some new sights,
kerchief around her hair, a pitch to her walk.
At dinner, watch my father look for someplace safe to rest
his eyes, my mother desperate for a rise, a line of sight
to an impossible road with curves and views of the sea.
One of them brings the earth, the other sky; both, vehicles
of mystery for their opposite, parked forty years side by side.
—first published in South Carolina Review