by Joan Jobe Smith

Driving my green ’72 Dodge four-door with
green upholstery: a perfect getaway car for a
spy in a broccoli forest, I went to see my
lover for nine years every weekend 42 miles
away in L.A. and listened to my Sinatra tape
as I sped upon the freeways through the grand
canyon of all those Goliath-shouldered skyscrapers
and when Frank sang “Chicago,” I’d sing along
“My kind of town LOS ANGELES IS” because I
couldn’t wait to see my lover even though he
didn’t love me, wouldn’t take me to Chicago
where I wanted to go more than Paris or Rome
Chicago where he went all the time to see his
folks and I couldn’t go because he was ashamed
of me because I was married and wanted me
to stay that way and one day while I sang along
with Sinatra singing “Chicago,” right around that
freeway mesa in downtown L.A. where everyone’s
deciding where he’s going: Pasadena, Ventura,
Santa Monica, Bakersfield, a car older than mine
ahead of me had a blowout and its wheel rubber
black exploded all the way around and came straight
at me and my Dodge and I swerved into the fast lane
to miss it and found a miracle in the eye of the
hurry-cane: no pickup towing a speedboat, no
oil tanker, no RV loaded with kids and bicycles
just me and my green ’72 Dodge and Frank Sinatra
and Chicago: strange, lucky angels hightailing it
onto the Hollywood Freeway to the Echo Park off-ramp
to Sunset Boulevard and left onto Lucile to my lover’s
tiny garage-converted pad and our wows and what-ifs.
Later, after I divorced my husband and my lover got
cold feet and pushed me off the 100th story of a
heartbreak hotel, I landed into the arms of a
tall, dark, handsome poet and my ex-lover
went to Chicago with someone else.

“Chicago” and other poetry by Joan Jobe Smith is featured in the new Silver Birch Press release GREEN: An Eclectic Anthology of Poetry & Prose, available at