Two Poems by Victoria Lynne McCoy
The Other Driver
I’ve hidden every newspaper that might tell me who he was—
whiskeyed ache of a man: all gape
and stagger and gravel
throat. Let me know him
by anything but name.
His more and more, what hallelujahs
spill from his slick pores.
What neglectful god
let him swallow the ghosts
at the bottom this once?
Let him shatter
the abacus of endless days, drink his veins
bearable and forgot to dampen
that brass clash of keys singing him home?
His take and take. He takes
the road he swears he knows by heart.
Did he believe himself to be
flying along his boundless highway,
the ghosts he hadn’t made yet
leave him weightless
on my tongue and let me forgive
only what I have a name for.
I’m afraid the poem will never leave me completely.
That this grief must need me, the way the bruise needs
the soft of a body. Why else do I survive
what she couldn’t? Why else am I left behind
to climb out the driver’s side if not to carry in me
the siren’s lonely tremolo, metal taste
of what’s unsalvageable. I want to stop
writing her out of existence,
to erase the passing soldiers holding her
on the shoulder of Interstate 15.
Traffic lanes on every page now,
every word a vehicle I don’t make it out of
until the end cracks open like a windshield
and I crawl out its sudden mouth.
VICTORIA LYNNE MCCOY earned her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has also appeared inBest New Poets, The Paris-American, Drunken Boat, andBoxcar Poetry Review, among others. Victoria has served as poetry editor of the Four Way Review and as the Work fellow for the Frost Place Conference on Poetry, and lives again in her native Southern California.