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The Driver
by Steven Schutzman

The road behind closing

in the rear view mirror

my unlived life is tailing me

not bothering to hide anymore

baring its teeth in high beams

aggressive and close

to the sound of dragging chains

My past self is angry

as if I were its father

blinded by teaching

And I am angry at him

as if he were my child

who could never learn a thing

Two perfect dunces

There is no exit

What did I expect

I made a wrong turn somewhere

and then another and another

to the soundtrack of happy jingles

advertising myself in my brain

delusions of grandeur

maddening habits of mind

ten car pile-ups of distractions l

eft smoking on the side of the road

My ex-wives sleep in the back

arms around each other

entwined with warm feelings of disappointment

that I fell so horribly short

of being more than I was

I am the driver

who will never sleep again

not lined up with myself anymore

my body like clothes

that don’t fit at a ceremony
Amazing how you can keep up appearances

to the very end

Dogged as I am

Tired as I am

Sad as I am

There is no place to pull over

no rest area no vista

The shoulders of the road

are crowded with refugees

hanging with seaweed

dragging bent bicycles

and goats on leashes

useless firewood piled on their backs

out of habit

I can’t even stop and give away

the little I have left

I need it to bribe

the guards at the border

Steven Schutzman is a fiction writer, poet and playwright whose work has appeared in such journals as The Pushcart Prize, Alaska Quarterly Review, Night Picnic, I70 Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, TriQuarterly, and Gargoyle among many others. He is also a seven-time recipient of a Maryland State Arts Council Individual Artist Grant, awarded for creative writing excellence. Website:

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