Mary-Alice Daniel

Nina Buckless and I are driving down Main Street in her truck.

It’s got 200,000 miles on it                         and takes a calamity to turn over.

It is the holiday season, so                          the trees are dressed with pinpricks of yellow light.

They surprise us.

They glitter and shatter over us                   in a washpoint of star shower.

In that achingly sweet voice of hers

she turns to me and says,

I wanna hotwire a red ‘57 Chevy, but just to take it around the block

and return it where it was …

That’s oddly specific,

I say,

tired of her delusions.

She says,


With all this dialogue and motive

you are now writing a story.

I say,


You’re scaring me.

It’s not like you to caution me.

Nina says, Oh.

Nina says, I am not Nina or haven’t you noticed?

Now I am afraid.

I am afraid of how her voice has turned metallic.

I am afraid of how her eyes seem painted on.

I am afraid of how poems are like incantations

and of how my mother used to say,

Don’t whistle in the dark; you will surely call the devil,

and what am I doing now but whistling.

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