Sunset with No Motel in Sight

A red inflammation of the skin
of the sky, a privacy terribly exposed.

Then my mother pressed
the button

for the car radio, as we could not bear
the silence. My father found

an oldies station, songs of the sixties,
their early marriage.

The sky kept up
its awful red in that sudden fleshly crease.

I was the passenger, unable to conceive
such beauty.

We kept traveling, and the sun kept going down.
What else could it do?

The Red Car

Eros was the part of me that could sleep,
my soul awake all night

in work dreams, search dreams, dreams
of finding my way home

on public transportation
all those years without a car. I was Psyche,

my sisters urging me on. A passenger,
listening to The Cars sing “Drive.”

One morning I woke from a dream of my mother
backing the red car out of the garage:

she’s in the back seat,
behind me, there’s no steering wheel,

my feet don’t reach the brakes,
and I can’t figure out how she’s doing it.
~ ~ ~

Kathleen Kirk is the author of six poetry chapbooks, mostly recently ABCs of Women’s Work (Red Bird, 2015), with another, The Towns, forthcoming from Unicorn Press in 2918. Her work has appeared previously in the museum of americana, and in a variety of other print and online journals, including Arsenic Lobster, Redheaded Stepchild, Sweet, The Fourth River, and Poetry East. She is the poetry editor for Escape Into Life.