After the Family Reunion

by Melanie Carter

The earth released its breath,
turned off the switch marked gravity,
and let the mist rise
until it hid the branches.

We drove through the fog. The fog
glowed in the beam of our headlights;
my grandfather’s face grew rigid

in the light of the dash. Slow down, please,
my grandmother whispered.
I think you should slow down.
The speedometer swung its needle to 75, 80.

We might have simply driven on
then off the world—hovering, weightless,
like a second moon. I could have seen

that he’d stood with a sagging plate
in his hand then watched her settle into a corner
chair, laughing. That he’d felt, finally,
the weight of this arrangement.

I was eight. Scorn then seemed imperfect.
So we raced. The blouses made a curtain
I could pull back, imagining

that if the angle were right, if I hooked
the curve of a hanger surely around
its swollen body, the window would open,
the moon would pull me out. I could have left

those people, their faces gaping, the car
still speeding down the unlit road,
and the road, unending, leading them on.