Metallic Safety Blanket

Carlos Peralta

Carlos Peralta

It's raining outside.
Schwump schwump
go the wipers of my car,
a grounded throne.
I watch the water trickle
to the sides, the windshield
a microscope honing in.

The light is red, but two
lanes over a girl's head
is bobbing up and down
to the beats of "Starman."
Droplets of rain zing through
the window and dance off her
auburn hair, like clear pebbles
waltzing through the air.
A hair whiplashes her eye,
I cover my mouth, teeth showing.
Schwump schwump.

I squint my eyes, blinded
by the orange truck on 38-inch
tires in my rear-view. Their window
lowers and thick gray clouds
choke the sky, as a cigarette bud
dives into a puddle of mud. My trained
eyes hone in on the kids in the back
glazed over bright screens.
I pound my fist on the horn; the driver
in front startled. The light turns green
and my headlights illuminate
the majestic middle-finger ahead.

I drift off to the tempo
of the wipers, like a bottled message
out at sea to eventually wash up
at shore. And yet, I find myself
in my garage still inside the car,
like a placenta I don't want torn,
wipers screeching on dry glass.
Mentally I open the door, walk
inside the house, and stacks of unopened
bills greet me on the left, and landmines
of school books wave at me
on the right. Cranial nerves start
to palpate and I'm reminded
I need eggs. Schwump schwump.
I put my car in reverse and drive off.

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From the Red Cedar Review, issue 54. For more information on this author at the time of this publication, and other online issues of this publication go to: https://d.lib.msu.edu/rcr
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