Driving Home From the Restaurant, I Forget One Word

The night is bitter winter chill,
the car unfamiliar, streetlights yellowing the driver’s face
as he concentrates on the road. Off-guard, my father
asks me, “Have you got far to drive tonight?”

The car is unfamiliar to him, the streetlights yellow my face,
but I don’t know enough to say more than “a half-hour north”
when he asks me how far I have to drive tonight.
The darkness doesn’t seem so vast from here,

I don’t know it’s not enough to say “a half-hour north.”
I think only in short-hand connected to my face, my voice,
the darkness growing vaster,
the light a greasy shimmer.

I think only in short-hand connected to my face, my voice,
don’t realize I am just a shape next to him, a driver
that he doesn’t see, a greasy shimmer.
By his door he says, “I’ll be alright from here,”

and I realize we take approximate shapes—
he is home and wondering why I stand
by his door as he says “I’ll be alright from here.”
I need a new short-hand for my presence.

He is home and wondering why I’m here
so I say, “Dad, why don’t I make us a cuppa,”
and he leaps on this short-hand for my presence,
the winter night forgetting its chill.

Author’s Bio

Robert Colman is a Newmarket, ON based writer and editor. His most recent book of poems is Democratically Applied Machine (Palimpsest Press, 2020).