It’s a Limousine

p
o
e
m
s

It is nothing like a shark but the monochrome blanched off-white
of its long body is dumb like a shark’s nose and dead eyes and
it is turning a corner.
                               There’s always a child in awe who asks
what is that. And we must supply the information, however
embarrassing our world may be in the explanation.
                                                                                              For example
this dumb automobile that will make me one day explain Prom,
which made me, personally, throw up in a parking lot. Or wealth.
That one is difficult.
                               Because the sparkling wide-eyed young ones
all want all the money and candy and most especially baby kittens
the size of gumdrops that will never grow up.
                                                                            For them our world
is a cotton candy haze except when you accidentally mention
a dead cat who was named “Peanut.” Then the storm appears
on the brow, looms like charred
                                                              coffee at the depths of a cup.
And why shouldn’t we give that man bent on the corner money?
(Because we don’t have much money, honey.) What’s that?
A man who drives a very nice car
                                              and is just about hit you. You must
remind these little dumb-dumbs they are very small, no one can
see them, anyone is liable to run them over, no one cares about
what grade
                 they’re in, they must stop touching everything,
they can’t have cake, popcorn, popsicles, cupcakes for breakfast,
lunch or dinner. It’s a limousine, and it represents every stupidity
known to human
                 kind. And you, my child, are never allowed to ride
in one. May they one day become obsolete, may spaceships replace
them, may you one day cease to force me to answer all of your
questions about this
                 awful world again. Though by then I may be dead.
And for now I’ll take grabbing your hand in mine while crossing
this fearsome parking lot as my one true reason to live.

Cate Marvin is the author of three collections of poems. A cofounder of VIDA, she is currently a visiting professor in creative writing at Colby College.

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