Monday, 23 September 2019

American Life in Poetry: He Taught Me to Drive

Ted Kooser. Photo credit: UNL Publications and Photography.

I once wrote of Marge Saiser's poetry that she writes better poems about love than anyone I know. In this poem the love is standing off to the side, looking on, but it's there.

Marge Saiser lives in Nebraska, and her most recent book of poetry is The Woman in the Moon (The Backwaters Press, 2018).

He Taught Me to Drive

The road wasn't a proper road; it was
two ruts across a pasture and down
into a dry creek bed and up

the other side, a cow path really,
soft sand up to the hub caps.
You didn't gun it at the right time,

he said. I knew that before he
said it, but I didn't know how to get
the old Chevrolet out of the crevice

I had wedged it into. You'll figure it out,
he said, and then he took a walk,
left me to my own devices, which until

that moment had included tears.
My face remained nearly dry,
as was the gas tank when he finally

returned, took a shovel out of the trunk,
and moved enough sand from around
the rear tires so he could rock

back and forth and get a little traction.
That country had very little traction;
it had mourning doves, which lay their eggs

on the ground, a few twigs for a nest,
no fluff. Mourning dove. Even the name
sounds soft. Even the notes they coo,

perched on a fence wire. But they are
hatched on the dirt. When they leave the shell,
the wind is already blowing their feathers dry.

American Life in Poetry does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. It is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Poem copyright (c) 2018 by Marjorie Saiser, "He Taught Me to Drive," from Bosque, (Issue 8, 2018). Poem reprinted by permission of Majorie Saiser and the publisher. Introduction copyright @2019 by The Poetry Foundation. The introduction’s author, Ted Kooser, served as United States Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress from 2004-2006.

Upcoming Calendar

24Sep
09.24.2019 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Mendo-Lake Singers Chorus sing-along party
25Sep
09.25.2019 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
‘Coffee & Conversation’
Upper Lake Senior Center
25Sep
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First 5 Lake Commission
25Sep
09.25.2019 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Rock of Faith Church Bible study
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Lake County Global Climate Strike
26Sep
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Clearlake City Council

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