The last thing I want when driving is the rain driving, too. The phrase is perfect. The rain drives around & over us, driving the point home that we may never get there, its constant percussion a wordless refrain that the tires keep trying to shush, that relentless glare on the windshield, the unexpected splash on the left from a car out of nowhere already out of sight again, hydroplane on the right in invisible water pooled by the shoulder—that slip like the lurch of a belt catching that’s hard to describe when you know immediately but still too late that you’ve lost purchase & control, left the ground for an instant, hovered defied gravity but succumbed again like getting your breath knocked out of you for the first time & how I remember when he was little, my son said rain sounds made him feel cozy during road trips—I think of him dozing behind me & feeling safe while the strain of seeing ahead made me afraid to blink & how I’d get inexplicably attached to the taillights of a semi as if the glow could like magic tow us forward, magical thinking, the rain driving me mad for a minute, crazed to get him safely where we were going where he is going & how I can’t ever get him there beyond all the hazards because the rain is always driving somewhere.
Elinor Ann Walker holds a Ph.D. in English from UNC-Chapel Hill and teaches online for University of Maryland Global Campus. She considers herself a recovering academic and has published under more than one name. She lives in Tennessee with three dogs and writes mostly on her screened porch, weather permitting. Twitter: @elinorann_poet, Website: elinorannwalker.com.