Poetry 2011 / Volume 42

Nomad — Hannah Keast

$400 bought my hard-earned
silver 1984 BMW with a bullethole.
Inside the worn leather paired with the exhaust fumes
reeked of adventure.

Airbags hadn’t yet been invented by 1984,
according to my father; who laughed when I called him
one winter night
in a ditch by the interstate
cradling a headlight.
But nonetheless my silver tank
kept me in a constant state of transition.

Turn left and go to school
or right and go to work.
Or just keep going,
the street lights beckoning toward the edge of town,
driving along dark country roads,
pretending I’m the only one who ever felt like this.
Eventually the tank hits empty
And I’m stranded in freedom,
waiting for my mom or dad to come get me,
and pretend like they understand.
They didn’t, but I still love them anyway.

In my car, I’m in charge.
I make the decisions.
I set my speed, my course.
Comfortable breathing open window air.
I craved escape, lived for it.

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