Give and Take

Give and Take

We bought a 10-year-old Volvo XC90
this summer to replace

the 20-year-old minivan
I was driving to class and kid car-

pool. Only one door
opened on the van, so I entered

from the back like a man boarding
the Space Shuttle—

ready for his helpless morning blast
into suburban space.

The Volvo is probably the nicest
car anyone in my family

has ever owned—joining a veritable
Christmas parade

flotilla of field trucks (Chevy’s
and Fords), dated

Impalas/Bonnevilles, and other
base sedans, some

with FM radios, cassette players,
and electric windows

to fine-tune that hauling-fishing-poles

Four generations of my people
have tended rows

of tobacco, peanuts, and corn,
much like

I tend lines of poems. And the two-peas-
in-the-pod despair

lingers in me that lodged
in them, knowing that a single dry

summer or a lone interstate lane
change can

jerk it all away, because God’s inexorable
smile is a crooked

smile, and all that is is his’uns
to give and his’uns

to take, just like the rain he
justly sends

on good roofs and bad roofs every-
where the same.


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