Steering

Satan shows up and offers
me a ride to work.
He had a “feeling” that my
car wouldn’t start.
I regard him with skepticism
but am already late and
although the sun is out,
it would be a long, cold wait for the bus.
He laughs as I buckle my seatbelt.
“All safe now?”
The mocking tone more
habitual than mean.
We drive for a while in
uncomfortable silence which
I have no intention of breaking.
He accelerates
35, 45, 55.
I don’t cave until he’s at 65.
“The speed limit here is 30.”
“Tell me how you’re doing.”
He swerves to hit the potholes.
“You only come to see me
when I’m on the mend.”
“No.” He protests.
“I missed you.”
“Aren’t there
scores of other souls
for you to screw with?”
“You’re special.”
It’s my turn to laugh
but I choke on it as he
tries to clip a crossing rabbit.
“That was a bunny!”
He moves the mirrors trying to
ascertain the hares fate.
“You missed.”
“Ah, well….” He runs the next two stop signs
A startled pedestrian hurls curses after us.
“Can’t take the
innocent before their time.
“Then what’s your point?
Why the ride?”
“Suffering….’So shall the world go on’.”
“Milton.” I sigh, looking out the window
seemingly still as
trees and traffic speed past unfocused.
My seatbelt chafes and chokes.
“A reminder or a warning?”
“Same difference.” He replies.
Closed in, car sick
I crack the window.
A burst of clean cold air clears my head.
“But for hope.” I say.
He groans, pulls in the lot and
regards me thoughtfully.
“Let’s go again around the block.”
“No. Drop me up here. I’m good.”
“I see that…
Are you plotting a holy war?”
“Do you suppose God misses me too?”
He looks so alarmed,
I am compelled to put him at ease,
besides, I want my car to start.
“I imagine all wars begin and end with you.”
He smiles, mollified but still suspicious
“I will not be defeated.”
It is said without malice.
as if on my side,
…and yet…
“You can hope all you want.”
…there is concern.
Maybe, I think,
I’m on the right road.
Aloud I say,
“I’m taking tennis lessons
this summer.”
Real laughter attempts to erupt.
He brakes hard,
sputters and coughs.
“You almost made me hope.”
I get out, push the door shut, and
say through the open window.
“A reminder and a warning.”
He rolls his eyes.
“You see why I come.”
He turns the radio up, and
peels out in front of a car
after waiving them on.

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