Pat Jones

Your Red Car

by Gale Tanner

(For Jessica on Her 21st Birthday)

The yellow pollen falls on your red car,
Obscuring my reflection in the shine.
Just as it should. Removing bugs and tar
Conveys no rights. It’s your red car, not mine.

It scares me, though, this car I helped you buy.
Air bags, seat belts do not assure when you
Have left the drive. The hole there hurts my eye.
As it should. Love collects accounts come due —

Inevitable title transfer tax
That parents pay when certain dates arrive.
We check the oil and tires, apply the wax,
And wave quite bravely as you leave the drive.

Aware that having taught you wheel and brake,
We can no longer choose which roads you take.

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Gale Tanner is a writer in Forsyth, Georgia. His work has been published in River Walk Journal and the Press 53 Open Awards Anthology (2008). He is married to Isabelle, and has a son Justin and a daughter Jessica, who followed her road to New York City.