Saturday, July 20, 2013

I-95 to Baltimore

We must have been
The very image of
White trash that night
Battered truck
Holes in the knees of
My tattered jeans
I was barefoot

We had an upright piano
A toilet
construction tools
And two hound dogs
In the bed
My feet hung
out the window
to catch the breeze

We were headed
all the way to Vermont
in one long shot
That trip has become family
Legend: the first time we
traveled together

I-95 North was, then,
a wasteland between
DC and Baltimore
where drug smugglers baited
state troopers
in nondescript cars

Which might be why
a thousand cars
had passed the Toyota
sedan on the side of the road

But it was probably
because they were
Six young Black men.

The man who became
my husband pulled over
white knight to the rescue
without thought
to race or peril
I fell a little more in love
watching him cheerfully
offer a lift to the nearest
filling station.

Their astonishment speared
my heart as I squeezed over
to fit four into a
three-person bench seat.
Two for safety:
we could have been
crackers on a joyride
in rural America

We managed.
Me shifting the gear knob
between my knees
while he steered.
They prattled on
about their schooling
and their jobs
as if we needed proof
that they were harmless.

We left them under
sizzling fluorescents
two miles down the road
with a gas can and an
assurance that they’d
be okay from there.

It was just
a kindness between strangers.
The moment sticks in my mind
because I’m still waiting
For that to be true.


  1. Oh, what you do. Such talent. And thank you for posting this now, in these last few weeks of national disbelief and reminders of how broken our culture is.

    White knight, indeed.

  2. I could feel the night air rushing past my footsoles.

    And the books burning from the inside---I wish it were not so late, so I could just keep drowning in all these exquisite lines.

    moire non,