MHAM Submission - Daniel Wilde

Poem by Daniel Wilde

Twenty minutes.

I should be there in twenty minutes. 
Even with traffic. 
My eyes glance repeatedly from the road to the radio clock and back.

Nineteen minutes.

How close is this guy going to get to me? 
Peering to my left I watch a man in his bold red truck swerve slightly
in his lane.
He's too close.
I don't think he's even noticed. 
I look back to the radio clock.

Seventeen minutes.

My speakers are so damaged that almost every station is accompanied by
I'm assuming that my speakers are the issue.
For all I know the static's not even there.
But I hear it. 
All the time.
You'd think I'd be used to it by now after all these years.
I'm not.
I settle in and listen.

Twelve minutes.

Still listening. 

Nine minutes.

My hands are gripping the wheel.

Six minutes.

Heart palpitations start kicking in.
The edges of my vision are darkening. 

Five minutes.

I should've stayed at my parents' for dinner.
I should turn back.
Do I pick up the phone? 
What if...

Three minutes.

I'm panting.
The palpitations are worse and it feels like my chest
is caving in.

Two minutes.

By now I'm on autopilot.
My vision's blurry and I can't read the street signs anymore.
Doesn't matter.
I turn on the correct road.

One minute.

My heart's in my throat.
The panting sounds more like gasping.
I can't breathe. 
I can't breathe.
I can't breathe.


I'm pulled into the driveway.
Car's turned off.
There's silence.
I scan the windows of the house and notice that it's dark inside.
Did he forget to turn on the lights or did he-

I can't breathe.

Kids walk by my car and stare. 
One even peers into my car and asks if I need help.
I don't look their way.
Couldn't they hear the static?
The child speaks again. 
I've no clue what they said.
I give them a smile.
They smile back and leave.

I leave the car and go inside the house.

The static comes with me.

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