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Driving to Church – Charmed Chaos


“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.” 

― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

At fourteen, you don’t think too much about death;
but then there are days it kicks you in the gut.

Riding to a church meeting with my best friend
her mom driving, all three of us sitting in the front seat
I sat in the middle; we talked about school, about boys
while the radio played our favorite song- ‘Hey Jude
Don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better’…
laughing and enjoying the ride, until-

I heard her mother before Judy did
Wait- what did she say? Then the world slowed-
my hand reached for the radio knob to turn it down
and that’s when Judy heard it too-
‘TIME TO DIE’
Her mother kept repeating it over and over and over.

I tore my eyes away from her face and looked ahead
She was driving us into a railroad yard, her foot hard
on the gas driving head on towards a parked train
And in that instant I grabbed the wheel,
slammed my left foot on the brakes.

So, I found myself trying to drive a car
for the first time –
To this day, I thank God it was an old blue Chrysler
with a push button transmission on the dash.

Judy sat in the back seat with her mom who was crying too
She tried to console her, but the tears kept coming
I drove us to the church, and slid the lever to ‘P’
found the preacher; told him what happened.

They said she had a mental breakdown.
Judy and her mom moved away shortly after
but every time I hear ‘Hey Jude’- I remember.

©2021 Linda Lee Lyberg

dVerse Poetics: In the Light of Other Days

Linda Lee Lyberg is a wife, mother, artist, published poet and author. She resides in Mesa, AZ with her husband Pete (aka The Big Viking) of 25 years and their latest rescue, Jackson “Jax” Lyberg. Linda writes various forms of poetry, as well as short stories. You can read more of her works at: charmedchaos.com and view anthologies containing her work here: Amazon Author Page



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