We all gasped to see it, at first: white behemoth in the driveway. A harmless beast, though, vehicular elephant porting us to grandmother’s house. We looked out through its eyes on those long highways, hunched down in its belly, that much-contested back window seat. I was sick there once— that citrus cover-smell lingers in my memory with hay, sweet grain, eau de black dogs.
They took my adolescence, too.
I learned to drive in the tattered hatchback, gray and lumpy after five kids and 200,000 miles. It had to cope with my learning curve— at least one tree never made it to climbable stature. But I dreamed up my first freedoms driving to piano, wrote my first poetry coming home from church. It was behind that wheel where I first had an inkling of myself.
’99 Chevy church bus. ’92 Toyota station wagon. They took both at once, continuing the sweet slip of familiar into nostalgia, the slow erosion of home.