Poetry Porch: Forgiveness


Taxi in Millers Glen 
by Joyce Wilson 

Early on, we were all aware of the taxi in the glen,
a yellow vehicle of escape idling in the woods.

My father was often doing what he wasn’t supposed to do,
such as arriving in a taxi that nearly snagged
its low-hanging chassis on our rutted road,
driven by a man whose face registered horror
at our pastoral surroundings: daughters with uncut hair,
lawn with uncut grass, and all the neighborhood dogs 
descending and howling at the strangeness
of the city vehicle and the invasion of privacy. 
And I would have to forgive him for dying. 

The idling yellow vehicle would remain in the woods,
recognizable, and the setting didn’t change drastically,
except for our address––
from Millers’ Glen to Ford, as if it were suddenly
more important to cross the creek 
than to grind corn on its banks,
as if nothing more was ever going to happen.
I would have to forgive him for dying. 

Our upbringing was the kind
only a Rousseau addict could provide,
and when we could barely talk at puberty,
we had to admit that the strategy was not working, 
but it was too late to revert to lessons 
in etiquette: the ’Sixties were upon us
and our spirits were converting to true energy.
We were nearly convinced that we might 
be able to be children forever. 
And I would have to forgive him for dying. 

He showed little regard for chronology, 
arriving at a local movie in time 
to see the last scene first: the wound and the blood,
the boy's tears, and the hero riding off as if forever.
I suffered with the fear for years
before I saw the value of beginning with the end.
And I would have to forgive him for dying. 

When my mother made the statement
about a famous movie star, rallying 
to complete our moral instruction: 
“I don’t see why men find her so attractive,”
our father replied,
“Honey, did you ever look at her?”
Meanwhile, we slipped out the back door,
a new freedom found
in lipstick and high heeled shoes.
And I would have to forgive him for dying.

The taxi driver soon befriended our dogs. 
He could be seen resting his back against the cab, 
turning the large pages of the local paper 
while they lay at his feet, nosing their flanks
and abdomens in the search for colonies of flees. 

As our father climbed into the back seat,
my mother looked frantically for his instructions.

We could hear the motor running,
then the hush of rain,
with that queasy feeling of being left behind
on a beautiful warm spring day.

Copyright © 2000 by Joyce Wilson.