blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1
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Family Vacation

Have you ever thought that you’re crazy?
They have been driving for four hours. The Mackinac
Bridge looms ahead of them. She is terrified

of bridges, open water, falling. She cannot
swim. She will not ask him to drive.
Have you ever thought that you need help? This

is the most he’s said on the subject
of love. I’m just joking. You’ve lost
your sense of humor. Christ.

His hand reaches for her knee. He pushes
up the thin cotton of her sun-
dress, fingers the elastic of her underwear.

If I drive you could go down
on me. It’d be fun. Why don’t you
take a chance? The baby will sleep. He’ll

never know. Have an adventure
once in a while. Why do you have
to be so frigid?

The bridge is built to sway. This is what keeps
it from snapping.

Stop it, she says. Stop. He does. For
a while.

Once she asked him if he had
an inner life. What do you mean?
Like guts? My intestines?

The bridge is five miles
long. In St. Ignace, they stop
at a rest stop that sells Indian drums, rolling

papers, Petoskey stones. She buys a drum
for the baby who gums it, beats
it against the seat. She lets

the man drive. Beneath the car the water
seems to be made of rough stone, and she tries
to focus on the car in front
of her. Soon, his hand cups the back of her head,
thumb stroking her ear. The baby falls back
asleep. Relax, he says. We’re not going to fall

in. He pushes
her head down, already un-
zipping his jeans. She does nothing

to stop him. She imagines water.
Waves. The great stones at the bottom
of the Straits.  end

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