an engine for madness (a sonnet)


I’m seventeen and behind the wheel

and you’re old, probably heart attack-prone

in a thousand-pound machine, broken seals,

transmission issues you never got to.


We’re both scared but you drove fear into me

with most concern for your car above all:

take a right, merge here, stay under twenty.

But I’m not inclined to foolhardiness


when you’ve put airbags on all street corners,

red lights stalling with anecdotes of youth

as I circled school zones twice over;

A Goodyear on black-yellow avenues.


I test my mettle against car metal,

the road pulls forth when I gas the pedal.


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