Offroad 4x4 in the snow
Off-Roading on the Tundra
by J.C. Elkin

Hurtling down the Stampede Trail
like Alexander Super Tramp
Into the Wild she bucks like a teen
with a laminate-warm license.

Engine cranking, springs crunching,
over The Toppler she teeters
like a sloop close-hauled in a gale
alert for lynx round every bend.

Tires slipping, chassis tipping,
through door-skimming wallows she plows
into turns as she learned long ago.
Steer into the skid and don’t brake!

She’s fearless. In forty years at the wheel
navigating all the Big Ds —
Destitution, Divorce, Depression, Downsizing,
she steered into the skid, never braking.

How could she have known at age sixteen
Drivers’ Ed would prepare her for life?

PHOTO: “4×4 in the snow” by Gulfix, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was inspired by a Jeep tour in Alaska that brought to bear all the skills I learned as a teenager learning to drive on New Hampshire’s icy back roads.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J.C. Elkin is an optimist, linguist, singer, and founder of the Broadneck Writers’ Workshop. Her writings draw heavily on spirituality, feminism, and childhood, and her chapbook World Class: Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom is based on her experiences teaching English to adult immigrants. Other poetry and prose appear in such journals as KestrelThe Delmarva Review, ZoMagazine and Angle.