Seventeen

May 24, 2017
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Perhaps I still remain
a child in transit,
seatbelted on the passenger side,
posed and bound, ever propelled by
the haste of parents, who count in
damp and clotted breaths.
When my father drove, he
tallied red cars and burnt out tail lights,
cursing our odds of wreckage.
My mother summed only
pavement cracks and roadside graves, those
highway trappings of urban sprawl,
mourning the city block formula.
She expended her more labored numbers in
earlier transport, my first passage, its
risk as shared and insurmountable as the
bond it bred— mother and child.
Swaddled for carriage at her breast,
my motion was not my own. Even
knees rubbed raw by carpet taught little of
portage, my crawls paved by outstretched arms
of father and mother, kneeling together.
Walking granted a tract of sovereignty,
of weight and friction, my capacity to
impel myself. But seventeen years of
worn-down shoes and strained arches could not
spare me of a rider’s fare, born passenger,
strapped in the backseat of my father’s car.
Even now, in morning commute, when I
depart and arrive with no memory of the
road between, there is a gap,
a nausea that comes in waves,
a surge of sight that strips the
guise of forward motion and
reminds me that I am belted.
I am perfectly still.






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