When he taught me to drive
my Lieutenant Colonel Dad
commanded me to learn
on a stick shift. No namby-
pamby automatic ride. We
practiced on country roads
where he trained me to swerve
at will, to maintain control.
I never knew when harsh weather
would force my slide into a lie, fearing
a head-on collision, his sharp nod
the only brake light needed.
I was always missing curves.
This is how he lived his life –
grabbing the wheel. Even in later years,
hands curled into arthritic claws,
he would not stop changing course.
I wonder if his ashes press
cinders to dust as he plots,
in Arlington National Cemetery,
a military coup, part of a convoy,
commando spirits planning
to eject hazardous materials
on my wishy-washy life:
a car-jacking, an explosion.
Mary Bast, Time Warp