"My í63 Plymouth Belvidere" by Candace A. Hennekens
In 1978, that í63 Plymouth Belvidere
was already old but it ran. Your mother
had gifted the car to me on her death bed.
Two years later, I drove away, the back seat
piled with clothes, our daughter in her car seat.
I forgot shoes, winter coats.
You mailed those and anything else
you could find that was mine
in an enormous box--my grandmotherís wall vase,
college papers, cut crystal, all mixed up.
I vomited in my motherís basement toilet,
knowing you had touched all my things.
The night we escaped, I decapitated a goose
on some dark country road; the state patrol
ticketed me for speeding. I pulled into my
motherís driveway, my eyes dilated, panting,
reeling, like a prisoner released after a long sentence.
My mother touched your hand prints on my neck
and wept. The Belvidere had a 318 engine.
I knew how to change oil, replace spark plugs.
I pushed buttons on the dash to make her go.
Painted bright yellow I never drove anonymously.
Sometimes I search for that car in the classifieds.
If I find her, Iíll buy her back, restore her
to mint condition, and keep her as a memorial
to my freedom that all these years later
is still precious, a gift from your mother to me.