Skid Marks
Permit in My Pocket
by Kymm Coveney

Another February dusk drops dead.
Dad to the rescue, says “Time for a drive.”
Waves off Mom’s list of invented errands.

I back out in a spate of gravel, crunch
refrozen puddles. Wipers slap wet arcs.
I forget about the mirror, again.

Familiar route I can paint in my sleep:
curve over the creek; dip at marsh’s edge;
past Anderson Fuel, the rise into town.

“Pull in here.” Dad says, and my heart sinks. I
know not to complain. Against no traffic;
left, onto the shuttered Butcher’s Block lot.

Piled in skyscraping banks, snow dresses up
three towering sets of lights, their yellow
fog dribbles down onto the hard-packed snow.

Wary of the rubber skates, I mistrust
the wheel, navigate between high white walls
wanting only to coast, to drift, not crash.

“Give it gas.”Dad says. Obedient, I do
“Now slam on the brake,” and I do that, too.
“Steer into the skid,” he says with a nudge.

We straighten out, bump back onto the track
past the second light. “More gas,” Dad urges me,
already a-swerve when he shouts “Now brake!”

PHOTO: “Skid Marks in the Snow” by Josiah Garber, used by permission.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: One of my fondest memories with my father is the one recounted here. The idea of being so reckless in order to be more responsible made me almost giddy, and I certainly put the lessons of that night to use on more than one occasion (though not often in Spain). Quite coincidently, my 83 year-old father is now teaching my 25 year-old daughter how to drive. She’s about the age I was in the photograph.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Learning to drive a motorcycle near Madrid. Spain (Summer, 1985).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kymm Coveney, an ex-pat from Boston, has lived in Spain since the 1982 World Cup. Her latest poetry publications are with Yellow Chair Review #6, The Interpreter”s House #60, and (forthcoming) Prole #19. Glasgow Review of Books has published a poem translation, and 101Fiction has published several flash fiction pieces. Her blog contains mostly flash fiction. She retweets mostly other people’s poems @KymmInBarcelona.