We’re driving to visit my aunt and uncle
in Massachusetts when my father decides
he can’t drive anymore with five screaming kids
in the back so he jerks to a stop at a roadside motel.
In the car, we wait as he checks in,
the upholstery slick with sweat and drool
and the spittle of insult. Our first motel
ever. Behind us, the small pool glows
the blue of imagined clarity, a holy water font
with a diving board. None of us
is going to sleep, but for now,
we’re silent. Windows rolled down, chlorine
drifting in with the sting of money spent.
It’s all we remember: five of us lined up
on that diving board, saying our prayers.

:: Jim Daniels, Night with Drive-By Shooting Stars

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