(Or, The Willy-nilly Slide)
*with apologies to Robert Frost*
We were somewhere north of Farmington when we ran out of gas.
Somewhere where Franklin bleeds into Somerset, the high
(like us) hills cresting into the summit line of the
Appalachian Trail, when the car coughed (like us), the dashboard
dimmed, and we rolled to a stop.
The cop asked us if we had any friends we could call,
when he came across us huffing it back to town for fuel.
Cumby’s is open all night.
Yes, we answer. There is a hero. Call him please.
And soon thereafter, Silvia arrived with Chewbacca in the Millenium Falcon,
and we assessed the situation.
Just one more quick rise to cover, and then we
could dive down into town, a nice straight descent.
The Falcon would push us to the rise, and then, down we go.
This made sense. This was the plan.
A quick kiss from the Falcon, and away we went.
“Will the brakes work if the car isn’t running?” I asked
Paulino as the street lamps beside began to issue trails with our speed,
“I don’t know,” he said quietly.
The struts of his sedan begin to quake, like the rickety scrape of a
wooden roller coaster, I felt the G-forces push the fluid of my body
towards my ass, the broken yellow dashes running past us on the left,
a semiphore signal marking the edge of the runway.
Until they are no longer broken, just a beautiful uninterrupted line.
Mailboxes fly past, dogs howl, creatures skitter back into the forest.
The houses thicken near the bottom, as we dash past High Street, along
the ghettos of unemployed students that surround the campus
like a bathtub ring, to the edge of Abbot Park, where the valley finally drops
suddenly to the Sandy.
In the mirror I see the Falcon cruise away into the night,
“You’re all clear kids, now fuel that thing and go home!”
And we take flight. We burst over the ridge line.
Over the stone bridge, through the tree canopy, past the second floor
of Robert’s Learning Center, around the Abbot frat house,
until we land in a cloud of dust, bolts, and exhiliration.
Quietly rolling down 27 and into the Cumberland Farms parking lot,
where I quickly check my pockets for my wallet to buy some cigarettes.
I could use a smoke.