Poems & Essays

17 Oct

How to Teach a Teenage Daughter to Drive

General/Column No Response

First, take that part of your being, the crusty hen that flaps
in your ribcage, the piece of you that loves the salt taste

of life in its beak, that’s grateful to blink up at the sun
every morning, take it in your hands and trap it in the glove box

with the unused napkins and ketchup packets, ignore its chatter
and buckle in, press yourself against the passenger seat, imbed

yourself in the juice stained upholstery, become one with the sun visors
and the worn down rugs. Know that being a passenger in the family

minivan with its poor aerodynamics and weary suspension is like riding
in the runaway carriage of some old western, the horses spooked,

wooden wheels a clatter, bouncing over sagebrush, careening toward
a gaping ravine. And at the reigns, your girl, the one who once bit you hard

enough on the thigh to draw blood. She might be steering you to safety
or maybe she’s too deep into the plummet to pull back, there’s no way

to know. Every time, it’s a roulette spin. Every time it’s pulling your knees
into your chest and shouting the word brakes in a continuous string. Instead

of teaching her, you want to bind her wrists, shove her into the backseat
and take off for the coast of anyplace else, you want to take her face

in your hands and tell her, Darling, no good will ever come of this.
Where could you possibly need to be that isn’t where you already are?



Lisette Alonso is a south Florida native and mother of four. She has recently received her MFA in poetry from the University of Miami. Her poetry has appeared in New Letters, The Lune, The Tishman Review, and The Nashville Review.

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