Tuesday, 16 November 2021

Brittany, 1978

by Betsy Mars

If you don’t like it, get out of the car
he said after a week of travelling.
Starting from a darkened garage
in London, hidden like a slightly older Lolita –
I huddled in the backseat of a station wagon
loaded down with provisions
for our continental road trip.
We crossed the Channel wordlessly.
On land again, he drove
and I fended off his suggestive tongue,
his critiques of my eating habits, too.
I watched, wrote in my notebook
all along the Normandy coast.
We slept in the car, on beaches
though neither of us ever rested.
By day, we irritated and repelled,
drew into our corners,
prepared for the next night
in too-close quarters,
both ready for a fight.
On the fifth day, we arrived at dusk
in another gray stone village.
Stopping at a tiny market
I found an apple and a yogurt,
and a freckled cashier
who made me welcome.
In search of a hotel and strengthened
by that moment at the register, her kind face,
when he said
If you don’t like it, get out of the car,
I climbed out and stood unsteadily
on the curb, crying, but free.

* * * * *

"Brittany, 1978" was first published under a different title in the San Pedro River Review

Betsy Mars practices poetry, photography, pet maintenance, and publishes an occasional anthology through Kingly Street Press which she founded in 2019. Her poetry has recently appeared in One Art, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Sheila-Na-Gig, and Autumn Sky, as well as numerous anthologies and journals. She is a Best of the Net nominee and her photos have been featured in various journals including RATTLE and Spank the Carp. Betsy is the author of Alinea (Picture Show Press) and co-author of In the Muddle of the Night with Alan Walowitz (Arroyo Seco Press). 

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