Mark Donnelly


I come here every day after school
I look over the truck, walking all the way around
I look at the fading red paint exterior and the worn
black leather seat
It is quiet in the late afternoon and no one is outside
My opportunity is in front of me and I must act
I know the present owner, Mr. Joe Panarello
I know he is at work because the other,
much newer truck with his name on the side is not here
I have about an hour until he comes back
I’ve noted his pattern often
I have read the vehicle registration many times --
1936 Chevrolet Pickup

I have been gradually working up courage to reach this moment
I climb on the running board and touch the door handle
on the driver’s side
I gently move the handle and it gives
I climb inside and touch the big steering wheel
Now in the driver’s seat,
I lean forward and clutch the wheel with both hands
I look up the dead-end street through the two-paneled windshield
I see the high weeds in the distance and imagine
I am driving down a country road, making deliveries

I sit in the cab ever on the ready,
ever on the lookout for Mr. Panarello or his wife
I am a driver in a bank heist waiting for a signal
I am wearing an old brown leather jacket
that belonged to dad’s friend Johnny McGuinness
Johnny is a big man and has outgrown it
I wear two sweatshirts underneath and still it swamps me
I am on the run, even though our house is up
at the other end of the block
I am miles away, I am distant, I am alone
I am an outlaw, I am a mechanic, I am 10
I am a drifter hobo who has climbed into the truck to get warm
I will start the engine with a screw driver like in the movies
I will be Humphrey Bogart to George Raft in “They Drive By Night”
I will be famous, I will be stealthy, I will be silent
I will be back tomorrow

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