Summer 1995 • Vol. XVII No. 3/4 Poetry |

My Passenger

I was flying solo in my father's carFor the first time. Man, I was on my way From our rusty suburb to the heart of Chicago, Full of the horsepower of his glory seat. At the first stoplight inside the city limits, A cop reached through the passenger-side window, Opened the door and sprawled, grinning, beside me. Where was I going? Fine. He needed a ride. He slammed the door on his foot, then slammed it again On the business end of his nightstick, then slammed it Shut. I drove as if for a driver's test. His huge red face stared at me, cold sober. He was plastered. And I stiffened like a suspect Sweating under the lights. Now he was slurring His arch supports, the heat, and his uniform. While passing the time of day, he passed out cold. I had been booked for Amateur Afternoon On the stage of the National Magic Company, And my sportcoat bulged and rattled with delinquent Treasures, all the gimmicks of my illusions: Fake coins, cold decks, illegal homemade picklocks I

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