The song playing on the country radio station
was “Drivin’ My Life Away” by Eddie Rabbit.
It was raining hard, like in the song,
and we were buying day-old hot dog buns
at the Wonder Bread Bakery Outlet
across from the Woodrow Wilson duck pond. I sat
in the middle of the truck seat, close as I could
get to your denim jacket and Old Spice,
and you stroked my bare arm with your thumb
to the windshield-wiper cadence of the music.
I don’t remember the season, my age,
or if you had already lost the borrowed kidney
that would be your end–just the comfort
of my small frame against your presence,
and the sound of your whistling, and nothing
in particular filling up our days. If I could
I’d go back there to the red truck and rain
and resting my head on your arm–back to ordinary,
everyday, before I grew too tall to sit on your lap–
before your lap became a place in my memory.
I still see you sometimes when I stop
to mind the details of my life: you come
while I am moving soil into the garden,
mailing letters, making grocery lists,
mowing the grass–and once I even saw you
walking away from the tube station
at Russell Square. You met my stare
and smiled, then someone walked between us;
when I found you again you were headed for the bakery,
whistling an old country song in the London rain.