Parallel Parking
by Linda Jackson Collins

Every night that week my dad drove us
to his office building’s empty parking lot.

Still dressed in pinstripes
he’d shove two garbage cans

onto icy pavement, then demonstrate
a perfect two point maneuver.

My turn, I’d slide across the caddy’s
cracked-leather bench while he balanced

on crusty clumps of snow, a nimbus
of instructions billowing from his mouth.

Over and over, I’d pull forward then reverse
with clammy palms despite the brittle chill.

Most nights he spent behind his den’s closed door
but on these rare father-daughter dates

he beckoned me toward him
heedless of the slick street, the slippery curb.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Here I am at age 22 with my first car (obviously, not the caddy); Chevy Chase, Maryland, 1983.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My dad was a typical 1960s/70s corporate guy, dedicated to his job. There wasn’t much Mad Men glamor — only missed dinners and weekends with his briefcase. We kids found him inscrutable and sort of scary, so I was more than a little wary when I learned he would be my driving teacher (my mother’s doing, I’m sure). We ended up knowing each other as we hadn’t before, and I am grateful for his commitment and patience during those dark hours of one of Kentucky’s coldest winters.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Jackson Collins has served as Editor for The Sacramento Poetry Center’s journal, Tule Review. Her own poems have appeared in The Cape Rock, Walrus, American River Review, Late Peaches, Poeming Pigeon and elsewhere. She writes in Carmichael, California, and still has big hair.