Her fuck-you living-dead grimace
Could have been random teenaged anger
At a semi-pulled-together driver
In a semi-pulled-together white Nissan
The kind of gesture that generally passes for greeting
On these modern roads
But something about those eyes
Maybe my daughter’s in a past life
Or the ones I had watched in the mirror
Too many broken nights
Made me look twice at the self-cut hair
Haloed around that bleak face
The arm floating atop the rolled-down window
As she folded her thumb inside her palm
And sealed it with a handful of hangnails
I knew her small valiant fist
Would not unleash The Finger at me this time
But instead was begging me
To write the digits of the speeding license plate
In ink in my heart
Reciting reciting memorizing
I pulled over
Grabbed the first pen and tattooed the numbers
On the passenger seat
Where they still remain
Long after punching in the number for the cops
Long after his grey Ford was stopped
Long after
I clipped a newspaper story
About a girl who returned from fuck-you living death
Because she dared to raise her hand
In her own defense
One last time

Image Credit:Luis Quintero