Member Monday: Cigarettes in the Volkswagen by Jennifer Phelps

IMG_20130719_162041Welcome back to Member Monday.  The Writers Forum board sends our sincerest congratulations to Writers Forum member Jennifer Phelps, who was recently published in the 2013 issue of the Santa Fe Literary Review.  The review selected her poem Cigarettes in the Volkswagen.

Cigarettes in the Volkswagen

by Jennifer Phelps

She found them between the front seats

of her mother’s old VW bug:

two dry husks of cigarettes, long forgotten,

discovered as she dutifully detailed the car –

a teenager’s task – cramming the vacuum

crevice tool into that awkward abyss,

sucking up tarnished pennies and old French fries,

the Volkswagen an accidental time capsule,

the Viceroys evidence of the free spirit

her mother was once, before she became wife,

Mom, perfectionist, tyrant –

maybe even before she became unhappy.

Back then she was just a kid selling records

at the music store on Fourth Street,

listening to Janis Joplin wail and sob on LP,

staying up late, talking and smoking,

making plans as if her ideals could never

be bruised with the blunt force of disappointment,

as if she would never assume

the heavy veil of responsibility,

as if the day would never come when she could love

her unborn daughter enough

to quit for good the carefree nicotine habit,

as if that daughter would never grow up to write

reminiscent poetry labeling her mother tyrannical, unhappy;

the same daughter who took a moment’s pause

from her cleaning chore to pick up those cigarettes –

those tattered testimonials to a long-forgotten innocence –

touching them briefly to her lips in a kiss

before reluctantly letting them go.

A Note from the Webmaster: If you’re a Writers Forum member in good standing and would like to be featured on Member Monday, please send your submission to Submissions should be 75-750 words, appropriate for all ages and error free. Please include a short bio, a headshot and any related links. The author retains all rights and gives permission to Writers Forum to publish their submission on the website and/or in the newsletter. Thank you!

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