On the Anniversary of Her DeathFor Ondine
Every Friday night, we were sixteen,you and I flew into the city
over the smooth, sparkling
asphalt of Woodward between
Eighteen and Seven Mile Roads.
You insisted that we listen onlyto Led Zeppelin as high as the volume
would take us, and you smoked
in the car, your free foot on the dash.
Your rules, always. Maybe you knew
I would be too scared otherwise.
Detroit was our tire swing.We spun too fast, whirling
away from the suburbs toward
cheap pitchers at Harpo’s
and men twenty years our senior.
We stayed until the lights came on.
After high school I escaped to collegein a country called Massachusetts.
I was not there when the accident
paralyzed your mother.
I do not know the courage it must
have taken to care for her year after year,
lovingly, fearless as you always were.
I have to believe that you did it like thatuntil the very end, and even in the empty
months that followed her death,
still getting the Led out, carrying on
in her absence, and in mine.
Let’s take a ride downtown tonight.Better beer, same music.
Hit the tarmac baby, like you know
I need to see you do it.
Joan Prusky Glass spent 15 years in public education before withdrawing from a six figure salary to write poetry and raise her children. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Haggard and Halloo, Emprise Review, The Blue Hour, Parable Press, and Bone Parade, among others. She is currently co-editing an anthology entitled “Raising Beautiful Minds: Memoirs by Parents of Prodigies.” Joan lives with her favorite Englishman and three children in Derby, Connecticut.