Driving Home

we saw him in the bowels of the side street,
as we pulled up for a traffic light,
it was him, surely, we were around his table
just the other evening, his wife in those big peridot earrings
and coiffured hair serving faloodas, smiling,
now this strange woman with the painted face,
loud under the yellow lamps,
his money in her still slick hands,
in a hurry to leave him,
he, uncertain, in a hurry to leave himself,
dropping his sordidness like crumpled pants
beside the bed of cracked asphalt;

I saw your quick glance but you weren’t looking at me,
perhaps at the beige seat belt
that held me tightly in place,
held you tightly in place,
the metal box on wheels that elevated us somehow,
he was gone by then, the place they left
swallowed up by the forgiving night,
we drove home quickly,
the silence brushing against our thighs,
your eyes on the road,
my eyes on your hands that gripped the wheel,
tighter, still slick,
the unsaid like a familiar ghost
in the back seat.

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43 thoughts on “Driving Home

    1. True! The poem though came from a chat about a familiar neighbourhood that has quickly gone from middle class to upmarket to sleazy. Common enough in a city bursting at its seams I suppose.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. What a great picture you give us to fill the story in ourselves of what they had done what they saw and what they realised but neither said a word.

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  2. An awkward human moment, if I’ve ever read one. I can feel the shock of those involved, life can do that to people… when they are caught with their pants down (or having been pulled up in a hurry).

    This is the sort of poems that breeds worlds out of the mind, now I won’t be able to stop thinking about the wife at home, about the next time the couples meet, about how they will look at each other…

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      1. That is a very good question. I suspect our judgement might be slightly more accurate when we know someone’s story. But as it’s often true about judging our beliefs tend to make a mess of things. Judging is almost always a terribly messy business.

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  3. “Dropping his sordidNess like crumpled pants…..” is such a powerful image….the scene in the car says so much, without being specific, and your closing lines are especially perfect.

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  4. There is a lot to love in this piece. The vivid images (that crumpled pants line is amazing) and the uncomfortable unstated thoughts and feelings of the two as they drive off. That phrase “familiar ghost” makes it seem like this isn’t the first time they’ve seen something like this and they’ve gotten used to pretending this sort of indiscretion never happens.

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  5. Great depiction of a human awkward encounter. Leaves me thinking about the intricacies of relationships with friends, do we really know them? anyone? ourselves?

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  6. “the unsaid like a familiar ghost
    in the back seat.”

    ,,, goosebumps. I have driven with that ghost in the back seat. The ‘unsaid’ … may not scream … but it definitely haunts.

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