In the middle seat
of our burnt purple shell of a minivan,
I sat watching the world flash by time and again.
With enough room in this row for two,
I often sat through the sleepless drives toward
historical destinations on summer trips to Virginia,
Washington D.C., New York City... anywhere really.
My drowsy head rolling sideways
in search of refuge on Amanda's unwilling shoulder.
The bonds of sisterly bickering
on these roadtrips were commonly animated
with a pair of Jessica's adolescent feet
dressed in doll clothing, hanging over the edge
of my retractable armrest.
The itchy patterned fabric was a close friend
- a confidant- who soaked up my tears
and the bitter taste of goodbyes.
Tears for my buried idol, Abuelo.
Tears for words too harshly spoken, sidewalk-chipped teeth,
and for raw elbows and knee-skin
freshly broken on school-ground pavement.
Even tears of laughter trailing back
from sunny daytrips to the beach, sand
buried in the scratchy grey cushions and rugs.
Peeling tint that smelt of melted plastic became a hobby,
easy entertainment on the most tedious drives through
hours of bumpers close to kissing and the thrill
of driving on the part of the road that tilts.
My childhood was in that seat, buckled in tightly
while the world sped past as fluttering shadows
across the drooped rooftop, stopping only at dead
red lights, zooming past any color green through
“orange” (as they'd say), defensive in the ever- expected
traffic of Miami at even the darkest hours, when lights
only flash yellow.
There was always the fight for the front seat,
but I'm disinterested. I want
the middlewhere I have full view of everything.