Highway to Heaven
Driving Lessons
by Kelly McDivitt

For Sofia

We never learned how to drive
instead evolving behind a wheel.
Our parents unclenched us from fists,
not shark jaws like the pretty girls
we knew. It is good we weren’t rich
unveiled angels of Enoch
and demons could become undone
by the hair our opened windows
whipped into our eyes. The back
roads Eden left unguarded.
We couldn’t see swords on fire
or Tertullian keening over
our bared chests, swollen
and open as a pheasants. We gaped
into our freedom and found speed
on our own, slowing when it suited
us. Who demanded more or less
gas? Who demanded we turn here
or there? And it is good we weren’t rich
and angels overlooked our uncovered
heads concerned instead
with fuller more wholesome girls
plump with rain and green
with health. We are flightless birds
camouflaged with moss and speckled
brown, small and squat,
gleaming under stones brushed
smooth by creek water.
Our legs and feet sat still
and moved us forward while
Robert Plant begged
us, in retrospect, to see the sun
brighter than light. This is summer,
this is the summer we learned to drive.

PHOTO: “Highway to Heaven” by David M. Schrader, used by permission.

mcdivitt picture

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is the summer of 2001, the year I learned to drive. I learned to drive on backroads with my girlfriends and we would often stop to splash around in creeks.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kelly McDivitt was born and raised (and indeed still lives) in northcentral Pennsylvania, where the glaciated landscape and ancient floodplain valleys make it difficult for her to leave. She is the happy mother of a mixed breed dog and two human children.