old gray saturn

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By Taylor Brown, Editor In Chief 

papa drove slowly. 

so goddamn slowly,  

each stop sign was a timeline of its own and 

speed limits were considered indulgent. 

he drove my cousins and i everywhere growing up. 

every dance practice, school day, spelling bee or recital  

was prefaced by a longer than necessary car ride  

in an old gray saturn with more books than miles. 

i was always so pissed, 

for no matter how early our departure i always found myself  

sprinting up the stairs to my dance studio three minutes late. 

he drove with the urgency of the american congress, 

so i would never know what happened in the first five minutes of class 

or what the highway looked like over 50 miles per hour.  

he would make the long, arduous trip worth your while though. 

as soon as you were buckled into the cluttered back seat 

he would ask if you wanted to hear a story.  

it wasn’t an honest question, 

regardless of your answer he would tell one anyway.  

so with my head resting against a window covered in grocery store stickers,  

my face warmed by the late afternoon sun and my sneakered feet kept company 

by toothbrushes and too many dictionaries,  

i would listen to west-african history and the revered tales of the indian god ganesha.  

i learned why our ancestors escaped across the canadian border and  

how my great-grandfather lost his eye diving off a bridge in the summertime.  

he told me about brer rabbit, who wanted anything but to be thrown in the briar patch, 

but ended up using the brambles as salvation.  

i waited on the edge of my seat, for every carefully chosen word papa used 

to describe the grip Crocodile had on Donso, and the harmony that followed.  

i was given a great gift,  

a multi-generational, multi-cultural interpretation of the world  

wrapped in worn seat belts, warm hugs, and loose change.  

as i grew up, papa passed and i started driving my burgundy ford  

10 miles above the speed limit at any given time. 

while racing down residentials and speeding through life, 

i realized why he drove so slowly. 

i don’t think there was anywhere he’d rather be, 

than in an old gray saturn trading stories with the people he loves.  

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