American Dream

Driving an old car and the petals don’t work. Dad is close by looking on, doubtful, wary of the men that surround. Everyone is watching to see how I will back up, retreat the only option. There is garbage piled ahead of me. Beyond that gaggles of men shaking their heads. Through my window, Mother is in the open market fingering wares, swooshing the air between hangers, fashioning a smart look of concern. I can feel the weight of her handbag as she pauses to heave it on her shoulder, head scanning other racks. My sisters are firmly secured in stylish households, aprons with frills and polka dots, canning salient memories. Smoke rises from their back patios while the children sleep: eating time in silent nicotine puffs, like wanton teenagers. My back hurts straining to reach the pedals. They are too far, my legs don’t quite reach, the pressure all wrong. But I won’t complain. The steering column is loose, but I must keep straight, within the lines, not give up. Though the bottom is rusting out. I can see the road passing below me, potholed lines between the cracks.

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