EXISTENTIAL CRISIS AT AGE SIX
When Mother double-parked in Waukegan
and went to renew her driver’s license
I could read the sign FISH down the hill
just before the dark blue of the Big Lake
stretched out farther than I could see.
I clutched the hanger strap of the gray
pre-war Plymouth as hard as I could,
hoping if I held tight it might not roll.
Watching the whitecaps churning in,
I wondered–if it rolled me down, down,
plunged me into the lake, would a big
fish come and swallow me like Jonah
in the story my grandmother told? Did
God want me to do something I hadn’t?
Did I forget to say prayers last night?
Forget to pick up my crayons and paper
dolls? Did He hear me call Sharry
a dummy? What if my mother came back
and the car was gone and me with it,
how would she get home? And
what would she tell my dog?