Author: Theresa Smalec

Unlicensed Driver by Lylanne Musselman

Installment 19 reminds us that the topside of terror is often desire. Lylanne Musselman’s unlicensed driver violates the laws of the road, family, and gender. Evading the fear and self-doubt that our culture expects from teenage girls, she hazards the routes of adulthood with refreshing resolve.  *** Unlicensed Driver My first memory of driving was around 15 – I was waitressing at my uncle’s restaurant. Mom, dad, my aunt and uncle had gone home early for an adult party later that evening. My two younger cousins assigned to stay with me, were to be brought home by our designated...

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Red Rambler by Joel Long

Installment 18 is Joel Long’s “Red Rambler,” a poem whose speaker travels the hypnotic road of sense memory. One minute, we’re driving along in the present, tempted to look over bridge rails at water; the next minute, something triggers and we take flight, returning to the sights, smells, and sensations of a past we can hardly know. And yet we do know it intimately. *** Red Rambler My brother left the roach clip in the sun visor in grandma’s car. Though I never use it, I leave it there beside mirror and compass sphere, egg which rotated in fluid...

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Meteorite from Saturn and Blind Spot by Leah Mueller

Installment 17 is a white-knuckle meditation on luck and its aftermath. Leah Mueller’s two poems dramatize the strikes we never see coming, and invite us to feel those misses that were nonetheless very near.  *** METEORITE FROM SATURN The objects that strike from above are always the worst. Driving my Toyota Corolla down I-5 in a 9 PM Pacific Northwest rainstorm, a few miles north of Everett. Raining so hard I can barely see. Traffic like angry bees escaping from a damaged nest. Radio off so I can concentrate. Suddenly, the heavy crash of impact so loud the entire...

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A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Border Crossings by Stephen Brockwell

Installment 16 presents six short vignettes: snapshots of care and risk that resist our age of dehumanization. Stephen Brockwell’s speaker offers tender, chilling, and at times humorous glimpses into why certain drivers are willing to go the extra mile for their human cargo. *** A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Border Crossings 1 Phil, we remarked on your broad lapels. You were thumb-wheeling home to your brother’s funeral in a vintage three-piece you bought on the Main, black wool with satin piping better suited to a gala. It had seen more years than you, more than your brother. And so, we...

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Car Kissing in the Rain and Leaving Indifference by Eileen Hugo

Installment 15 features two poems by Eileen Hugo. Both pieces travel in transitory directions and offer quick but lingering glimpses into acts that are only supposed to last for a short time.   *** Car Kissing in the Rain Rain drops made circles and moved down the windows in small rivers that branched out and down to the hood of the car heavy rain drummed the roof and our pulses it was steamy outside and in with the curtain drawn passions escalated but this was car kissing     nothing more *** Leaving From the car window I see the road that...

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