Algebra

David Lee Garrison

We were about to be seniors
that summer night a gang of us drove
to the high school and spray-painted
Screw Hart
in the parking place reserved
for the algebra teacher.
Just as we finished,
one of our town’s two
unmarked police cars,
a green and white ’62 Ford,
swerved into the lot.

Scared breathless, I slumped
to one knee, envisioning
handcuffs, expulsion, parents.
Then I saw it was Mike,
a friend of ours whose father
owned the same kind of car.
He laughed when he saw
what we’d been up to
and realized how much terror
his unexpected arrival had caused,

but I trembled for a week.
Even now, in my sixties,
I bolt awake when I see
that Ford coming around
the corner of a nightmare.

about the author
David Lee Garrison taught Spanish and Portuguese at Wright State University for thirty years. Two poems from his book Sweeping the Cemetery were read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, and the title poem from his Playing Bach in the D. C. Metro was featured by Ted Kooser in his syndicated newspaper column, American Life in Poetry.

One thought on “Algebra

  1. Janice Bumbalough Marler

    That is so funny. I had the opportunity to work at Duke University in the late eighties as a patrol officer with the campus police. I loved it. The students were a trip.

    Reply

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