You could blame the Pa. turnpike-
The throbbing monotony of the Northeast extension.
There had been times the anxiety of the drive
Forced me to pull over,
my heart beating too fast
unable to catch my breath.
Human beings were not meant to hurtle
forward through space at 65 mph.
But there was no stopping on Easter Day 2002.
I kept driving.
We had taken separate cars.
He left mom’s the day before “to check the mail,”
as if he had stopped trying to cover his suspicious tracks
with the pretense of logical excuse,
now just leaving the lies laying around in the open
like other husbands might toss sweaty work clothes
anywhere but the hamper
or not put dirty dishes in the sink.
I kept driving though the tears.
Hadn’t seen this downpour coming;
didn’t know I was so unhappy,
that the unhappiness had metastasized to this fatal stage.
(When was the last time I even thought about myself?
Too busy trying to be a good
journalist activist playwright volunteer friend
mother to the two little girls in the back seat
who didn’t understand why Mommy suddenly couldn’t stop crying.)
Mommy didn’t even understand why Mommy was crying.
I hadn’t realized I had given up on being a wife
until that moment after the Hickory Run Plaza,
driving stick straight into a destiny I couldn’t imagine-
A blown-up life about to be defined
by haunting insecurity and reckless self-discovery,
swimming instinctively to a precarious shore
with two kids on my back
as their father’s leaking ship continued
a slow disintegrating descent
to his toxic dead beat bottom.