DRIVING | Meg Lindsay
I keep looking over at him in the passenger seat
slumped down awkwardly,
his jaw slack, lips parted,
and I am debating
if he’s died, if finally his heart decided
enough, but that would mean I have
a dead person, a body next to me in the front seat.
What do you do with a dead person?
What if he’s not dead? I should get him to a hospital
but he would kill me, if I took him to a hospital
and he really had died and I was responsible
for having him revived. So many bones broken,
so much nerve damage, so many warnings
that the cancer will come back –
a future of more lesions, more broken bones,
more chemo, more misery.
But if I don’t take him to a hospital, am I
a murderer? Culpable? How long am I allowed
to drive around before I am culpable?
An hour? Three?
And after three hours, should I
drive straight to a funeral home?
Would that be presumptuous?
What is the proper sequence
of these things I never have dealt
He still does not move. It’s been half an hour.
My heart beats fast and I look at the gas tank
thinking it might determine
how long I drive around.
We are an hour from home
and I’d so like to be home.
He stirs, gulps air, blinks and asks
how close are we. Later he agrees
he would have killed me
if I’d had him revived and he’d missed
an easy out.
Meg Lindsay, who has an MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, was a semi-finalist in two "Discovery"/The Nation Contests and a finalist in an Inkwell competition. She has poems published in Light, Tricycle, Pivot, Salamander, Alimentum, Connecticut River Review, among others, and is also an established painter showing for decades in galleries and museums. Her chapbook about the process and emotions of painting titled “A Painter’s Night Journal” was published by Finishing Line Press in 2016. The subject of her writing dramatically changed direction when her husband, an athlete, collapsed with bone cancer in 2016. www.meglindsayartist.com