a night drive / in the Alfa Romeo / the top is up / rain is dying / we are returning from a steak dinner for two / a tomahawk chop on guitar / with roasted, creamed corn and asparagus playing backup / I’m driving / you’re riding shotgun / light from the bridge slices into the car in hard, steady flashes / you ask what I’m thinking about / I tell you nothing / and you say yeah me too / but really I think I’m thinking about you / and maybe love / though it’s all been said / my thoughts nothing more than another grain of sand on Waikiki / another flake in a New Hampshire Nor’easter / but the way I feel at this moment has not been said / it’s a nine-leafed clover / a polka-dotted rainbow / a heaven without death / and I think about speaking / but then you place your hand atop mine on the shifter / and I press the gas pedal down harder / and the engine roars through our touching skin / and the needle on the speedometer sprints forward / and together we slide into fifth gear / and let the car exhale
Mathieu Cailler is the author of six books. His short stories, poems, and essays have appeared in numerous national and international publications, including PANK, The Saturday Evening Post, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the recipient of a Shakespeare Award, a Short Story America Prize, and a New England Book Festival Award. Heaven and Other Zip Codes, his debut novel and most recently published book, was named the winner of the 2021 Los Angeles Book Festival Prize. To learn more, please visit mathieucailler.com or find him on social media @writesfromla.