Your Big Black Cadillac

Your daughter drove your black Cadillac

when she was twelve, first down Maiden Lane

then past Miss Samuelson’s house, outside

of which Miss Samuelson hosed her zinnias

 

and watched, astonished, as your Cadillac

passed by undriven, or so it seemed, her head

(your daughter’s) so low behind the wheel

she must have guessed her way along. How sad,

 

thought Miss Samuelson, once she realized

who was driving. Not, How frightening

or, How scandalous. Not even, How strange.

 

Already the world was waiting for her

(your daughter) to drive into the ocean,

to live out her days dying in slow motion.

About James Harms:

James Harms is the author of seven books of poetry including Comet Scar, to be published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 2011. He is a recipient of an nea fellowship, the pen/Revson fellowship, and three Pushcart Prizes, among other honors. A Professor of English at West Virginia University, he also directs the low-residency mfa program in poetry at New England College.