A Thank-You Note

Coming back from Thanksgiving,
you drive, saying I should rest.
I recline my seat, pillow at my neck,
my head below the line of the window,

and I see my body outside of the car,
without the cradle of steel and clenched airbags,
nearly supine, moving forward at 60 mph,
and you—upright, 10 and 2,
as buttonwood and land crabs flash
at your alert eyes.

You round a soft turn and I am reminded
of the car’s cushions and plastics
predicting our shifting bodies
by slivers of seconds.

I close my eyes, know that I am being carried,
that I have no responsibility to this act of travel,
as the tires translate the road’s braille,
through vibrations in my seat.

One week later, I will wake with the same thought,
my eyes fluttering at the hospital’s drop tile ceiling
drifting over my head, and you, walking beside,
smiling down, saying the words “no cancer,”
as the gurney’s small wheels read to me
the cold, clean floors.

***

Nick Vagnoni was born and raised in Key West, and currently teaches writing at Florida International University in Miami. He is a founding member of The Miami Poetry Collective, and his work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mid-American Review, Alimentum, Saw Palm, New CollAge, La Fovea, and The Florida Book Review, among others.

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