You should get a smaller car the woman said
who blocked my exit from the poetry reading parking place
in a field off the grid on Wheeler Hill and rallying to her cause she said
There is no reason for that big SUV and climbed into her puny Kia
that had me turning and backing and forwarding and looking
and considering like the days on West 111th Street
on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, six inches longer than the car
all that’s needed on those streets, but this was a green grass hilltop
and this was poetry and sunshine and singing birds in nearby shrubs
and in all that space the woman with the Kia could find no better place to park
her vehicle than too close behind my car and nothing better to do
than to make an environmental point on a Saturday afternoon in August.
I need this car I said to hold my daughter’s power wheelchair
and continued the backing and turning until I freed myself.
She handed me a tiny pink flower. It’s a Wild Bergamot she said.
Thank you I said, and she left no doubt thanking herself for being kind
but I knew who was kinder that day ‒ I did not say “dead daughter.”
by Martha Deed
Editor’s Note: The rush of words in this poem mirrors the swell of frustration that the speaker feels in a very difficult situation. The contrast of the clearly punctuated last line with the previous ones gives it even more of an emotional punch than it would otherwise have.