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Monday, April 02, 2007


by Rochelle Ratner

She’s never been even tempted to give up teaching,
but this driving home at night alone is starting to get
to her. She double-locks the doors the second she’s
off the highway and calls her mother as soon as she
gets home. For awhile there was another woman
teaching nights, only too happy to split the tolls. And
now there’s Edgar. Most of the time he rides in the
glove compartment, but when she drives alone at
night she places him on the seat beside her. A flick of
a switch right on the steering wheel, and there he is
B muscular in his red tee-shirt even if it seems odd in
the middle of winter, already seatbelted in, attentive
to what’s going on around him. True, he doesn’t
inflate as quickly as he did a few months ago, and
there are hollow creases, especially around his face,
but she likes to think of them as wrinkles. Easiest
way she’s found to calm her parents’ fears, practice
safe sex, and not smear her lipstick.

Rochelle Ratner's latest poetry books include Balancing Acts (Marsh Hawk Press, 2006), Beggars at the Wall (Ikon, 2006) and House and Home (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003). She is the author of fifteen previous poetry collections and two novels (Bobby’s Girl and The Lion’s Share) both published by Coffee House Press). More information and links to her writing on the Internet can be found on her homepage.