Installment 46 is our final car poem. Breaking with the tradition of this series, we will not provide an introduction for Sunayna Pal’s piece, but let it speak for itself. Thank you for reading and submitting. It’s been a wonderful trip.


I Met My Past

Driving my car in the after-dawn light,
window half-open,
I see a group in the alley ahead, smoking rings.
Your night-outs flash in my mind
Linger like the car at the signal.
Signal turns green, and I cross the group.
Just one look and I know;
It is you!
I look ahead, pretending it to be otherwise.
I drive ahead but a part of my mind,
stays at the signal with you.
Did you see me? I think you did.
Smoke-filtered, groggy eyes
Did you recognize me?
It has been 19 months and 23 days,
but it feels like yesterday, all over again.
How did I recognize you, without even taking a second?
Why did I think of you?
My heart races on time’s track,
like my car on this empty road.
I wouldn’t trade my present
for anything.
You were so wrong for me.
I am happy, where I am now.
Yet memories break-in from sealed, concealed doors.
Your hard hands,
Perenially-stained fingers.
Your thin eyes, even thinner when you lied.
The small lies you thought went unnoticed,
like her perfume.

On my way back,
I pass through the alley
My eyes on the lookout
Will you be waiting for me?
Should I acknowledge you?
Do we have anything to say?
You are not there.
I let go of my breath and drive in peace.
I hope I never see you again.
I wish I could simply erase you out of my mind,
like I erased your sketches.


Photo © Matthew Friedman