Jed Myers

I Picture Him Driving


My father never said lonely. He’d say Let’s go to Alfredo’s. Soon

as he’d collapsed in the living-room chair home from work. We’d see

how beat he was. He’d talk through his yawns,


then he’d thrust himself forward and push up off the chair’s arms, go

wrestle his coat back on, and we’d follow him out the front door

to the car. He would drive


over the limit, slow down for stop signs or rights on red, and pull

a quick left through a brief gap in City Line’s oncoming traffic

to land us in Alfredo’s lot. He said hungry


at times, never empty. There’d be caprese and Who else’ll have some,

come on, don’t make me finish it all by myself. He’d tell us

again about Italy, say Next comes the primi,


he’d have the risotto or gnocchi, the rest of us whatever, noodle

in red sauce, and after, keeping the cloth napkin tucked at his neck,

for him the secondi, veal, chicken, lobster . . .


we’d drag our forks through what was left on our plates. And he’d have

put in for several contorni, the parmesan-graced asparagus

plus a few more to pass around—we’d sample


these for his sake in our fullness. He’d never think we’d had enough,

though we’d be dazed by the time the tiramisu arrived, one

for each. He’d finish his, and at last lifting


the bib from his collar, would ask for the check. My father never said

what was the matter. He’d take his Alka-Seltzer and Tums

through the night, wind up in front of the TV


in the den before dawn, and head out in the dark for work. He never said

restless, but I watched his relentless thrashing in his hospice

bed – he wanted to get dressed and out


to the car, saying Come on let’s go get the soup. What are we waiting for?

I wonder if that soup was his mother’s winter borsht, roots

grounding us once more in Minsk


or Vilnius, but I’m convinced it was a rich minestrone. And evenings

I picture him driving alone in those sun-dried hills of his

heaven, to dine at the next stucco inn.

Jed Myers is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and four chapbooks, including Dark’s Channels (Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award) and Love’s Test (winner, Grayson Books Chapbook Contest). Recognitions include Southern Indiana Review’s Editors’ Award, the Prime Number Magazine Award, and The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Prize. Poems have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and elsewhere. Myers lives in Seattle and is Poetry Editor for Bracken. This poem won second prize in the 2021 National Poetry Competition of the Poetry Society of America and first appeared in The Poetry Review and in the Society's annual anthology.

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