Carolyn Martin, Spring•Summer 2017

To the Police Officer Who Let Me Off the Hook
Carolyn Martin

You were right: eleven miles over sixty-five.
Can’t argue with a radar gun. Fair and clean,
you net my Honda Fit out of all those speeders
slashing through the Sunset Highway’s curves.

I can tell you now I almost cited Kepler’s Law
of Equal Areas: planets move faster when
they’re nearer to the sun. I could have teased
I was mimicking this natural principle.

I could have spouted lines written while I drive—
Ten geese hitchhiked along a puddled road.
I honk, therefore I am. You honk and you’re a jerk.—
but I figured fast you wouldn’t be amused.

Remember when you said, Your driver’s license, ma’am,
and groaned at my reply? My wallet’s on the kitchen sink
with my phone and shopping list. Remember how you huffed
back to your car to check my VIN and tally up the fines?

See, here’s the truth: I’ve raced before. Turned wrong
on one-way streets. Double-parked. Stolen minutes
from the handicapped. Slipped through dozens of red lights.
You were my only catch in fifty driving years.

Maybe your quota was full? Or you recalled last night
dancing your giggling son around the living room,
watching your daughter’s bat zing in the winning run?
Maybe the heat of making love softened you?

Whatever the reason why, I need to understand
the terse Slow down! when you returned to my driver’s side.
No ticket. No frown. Nothing beyond two syllables.
Please contact me soon. I’m curious. I won’t tell.

Hiking, Formerly Known as Hill Walking
Tilden Park, California
Carolyn Martin

Walking hills
is leisure.
through lupine
and your eyes
in Shar-Pei wrinkles
golden thick.
A coddiwomble
a walking stick.

But slip off
one syllable
like a heel-holed sock
and the trek
becomes misery:
backpacks, boots,
supplies to stretch
for miles,
an ending spot
wrecked by
the blistered
you hiked.

Carolyn Martin, Ph.D., has journeyed from English teacher to management trainer to retiree, from New Jersey to Oregon to discover Douglas firs, months of rain, and perfect summers. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in publications throughout North America and the UK, including Stirring, CALYX, Persimmon Tree, How Higher Education Feels, and Antiphon. Her third collection, Thin Places, is slated for release by Aldrich Press in fall 2017.


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