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My Mother's Black Buick
By Nathaniel Goldberg
Copyright 2000 Nathaniel Goldberg
A poem about the writer's joy ride.
That Thursday night in February,
the earth was hard and cold beneath
my thirteen year old feet as I left
the warmth of my father's house and
crept to the garage.
Bobby Serrato had taught me how
to hot wire my mother's 1951 black
Buick with the silver rim around
the lights.
The garage door went up without a sound
as I lifted its metal handle.
A solitary bulb in the ceiling came on softly.
The car door was open. I knew
it would be. My parents were very
Reaching beneath the dash, I pulled
out the clump of wires.
I crossed the red and the black,
stepped on the accelerator and the
engine whined as it turned over.
Carefully, I backed the
huge car out.
The front bumper on the
right side hooked onto the wooden edge
of the garage. There was
a terrific crack as wood
Immediately, I took my foot off of the
accelerator and held my breath.
When I looked up at my parent's room
there were no lights. I waited twenty long
seconds. Their window was still dark.
Slowly I eased the car onto the
driveway taking her out for a drive
around the neighborhood. I passed
Daluka's house, then Seratto's place
sorry all my friends were sleeping.
Disappointed I drove home, stopped
at the edge of the garage and looked
up at my parents window, one last time.
The Buick eased in.
I reached up, pulled the cord,
the garage door lowered.
As I turned, my father stepped out of
the shadows in his pajamas.
I rarely remember him ever hitting
me, but with one swift kick,
he booted me in the rear end and
I flew across the driveway.
I never drove my mother's black Buick