They seemed like jolly tunes
            I’d never heard my mother
            Sing their kind before –
            In fact, except for lullabies
            That ended years before when I was small
            She never sang
            The man behind the wheel
            Joined in, but from the back seat
            I could see his eyes were seeing stars
            Whenever he would glance at me,
            And at a stop sign or a light
            His knuckles would grow whiter
            Than my mother’s throat
            He let his right hand drift
            Across the armrest when he floored it
            On the open road and then
            My mom began another song
            And this went on and on
            Until we finally reached home
            We hung around outside the door,
            My mom and I, which gave me time
            To notice stuff like dirt beneath a fingernail
            Whenever he would strike a match
            And suck a cigarette
            I never can explain just how
            These memories come drifting up
            Maybe they’re like smoke
            Beginning furtively in flame
            From under desiccated leaf
            To steal a passage to my breath
            Or maybe it was gazing at the length
            Of you in nakedness,
            Your limbs a beacon in the night
            To welcome and to warn, even in sleep,
            That I recalled the dual nature of
            Most everything


            Emanuel E. García, The Virtues of Calamity, One Hundred Poems2013