A Trip to Roswell


A small digression today for a poem.

When the ride becomes suddenly bumpy
I say, “Is that the road?”
In a construction zone,
traveling on the inside lane,
cut off from the outside lane
by metal poles–
it isn’t the road.
We Thump, Thump, Thump

Barrels. And an empty lane.
I pull off,
get out,
and see–
a shredded tire.

Amy heaves the donut tire,
onto the black top.
The kids wave their glow sticks
while Amy figures out where
to set up the jack;
the car lifts.
She starts to loosen
the lug nuts.
The car falls off the jack.

Meanwhile, Dwight isn’t answering.
I call AAA and when they call back
I find out that the closest wrecker
is thirty minutes away.
Amy says, “No, I can do this.
Just set the hand brake this time,
that’s why it fell off the jack.”
In the pale light of my cell phone
the lug nuts glimmer.

Then, blinding light.
A truck has stopped and shines
its head lights on our wheel.
Out steps a man–
and his wife.
Breathe. It is a husband and wife
and they are just being nice.
“No problem,” says the wife,
“didn’t want you to get scared,
so I always get out,
’cause Sammy always has to stop.
Wouldn’t want our daughter
to be out alone
and no one stopping
to help.”

“Besides,” she says,
“our three year old granddaughter
is in our car
We just want to help.
Oh, you have two little ones in your car, too.”

I open the rear door–
careful of the rush of wind
from passing semis
traveling too fast
in the dark
in a construction zone–
to calm Haileigh,
who is crying and crying,
even with a glow stick
to light her small corner of the universe.

By now, Amy has one lug nut off.
But the other is stuck:
do tire-men use air guns to tighten lug nuts,
Making it hard for a strong woman to change
a tire?
Sammy says, I can do it.
And he does. Strong man.
Amy puts on the donut,
tightens the lug nuts.
I give Wife a picture book for her granddaughter
in thanks.
We say, “Good-bye,”
get in the car and creep to a hotel
and I wake at 5 am to go to the tire store
for a new tire.
And then, we drive again,
moving on, traveling,
whizzing along,
the flat tire
just a bump in the road.

  • Callie Leuck
    March 16, 2012

    A nice digression :)

  • Indigo
    March 16, 2012

    I’m so glad, you managed to get the tire changed (even if it did require a little more manly strength). I would have been frightened out on the highway (in a construction zone) like that, with little ones.

    Smart of the woman to get out with her husband. Otherwise I would have jumped in the car and locked the doors. Yeah, I’m not very trusting at all. (Hugs)Indigo

  • sANDY
    April 13, 2012

    Nice poem, Darcy. I loved the way the emotion came out in the simple telling of facts. Powerful.

  • susi
    April 19, 2012

    A warm story, well told. Thanks.