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Road Hazard
by Mary McCarthy

The trouble with driving
was I didn’t want to learn.
I never believed
the car was innocent of guile
never trusted it to do
just what I directed
without some unexpected
deviation of its own.
My driving was a tense
negotiation
between mind and matter
between my will
and the car’s inert
mechanical resistance.
This led to much anxiety
increasing exponentially
as speed and traffic grew,
resolving only
at the end of each excursion
with a full stop
releasing me mercifully
back to the safe simplicity
of moving on my feet..

Although the years
have built assurance
and left my far too frequent
accidents behind
I still have dreams
where brakes won’t work
out of sheer perversity
teasing me to panic
at each just missed
collision
underlining my conviction
control is an illusion
meant for fools and children
easily disproven
by even one bad spin-out
into the air
from a black-iced road

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: One of my early Driver’s Licenses.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I learned to drive late, and didn’t actually drive much until after I was married, in my early thirties. I was always, at best, ill at ease behind the wheel, and, at worst, prone to panic. High speeds and heavy traffic triggered a kind of PTSD, making my driving even more erratic. I had a lot of accidents, and they got worse under winter’s icy road conditions. The most spectacular occurred the day the shuttle blew up. I went airborne in a van off an icy road, rolled twice, and landed in a creek. Miraculously, even though I wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, I suffered no more than a few bruises. And even worse fear of driving. At one point my auto insurance company sent me a letter “imploring” me to be more careful. It was the one and only time I’d ever been “implored”–!!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary McCarthy has always been a writer but spent most of her working life as a Registered Nurse. She has had work included in many online and print journals, including Gnarled Oak, Expound, Earth’s Daughters, and Third Wednesday. She currently enjoys the vibrant communities of poets and writers active on the Internet.