When to the silver SUV I schlepped
pushing a cart that veered to the left,
I reached for keys which I usually kept
hooked to my bag to foil theft.
I pushed the button; heard the chirp
although a distance it seemed to cross;
called to my son, the little twerp
and began unloading milk and sauce.
“Mom,” said Matthew, with concern,
a luxury for which I had no time.
“Get in the car” I snapped in turn
and to my door I bent to climb.
I went to put key in ignition
when all at once I felt a chill
a horrible lack of recognition
of seat, of cup, of car, of nil!
“Where’s my stuff?” I asked my boy
who’d climbed uncertainly in the back,
“I do not appreciate this decoy
my dirty towel, my bills? My snack?”
“Mom,” he tried again; I turned
to see what new crime he contemplated
but when I saw the back I learned
and from fault he was then exculpated.
This gleaming shiny silvery jeep
with tidy mug and Burberry scarf
did not match at all my heap
festooned with garbage and flecked with barf.
Christened by my kids and me
with dirt and gum and single socks
my car just simply could not be
this one that held designer frocks.
“Hush!” I said now that I knew
we were in the wrong SUV —
(would this one’s owner take mine in lieu
knowing what I did of me?)
My senses were on combat high
as I reviewed our situation:
how we got in there and why —
I prepared for our evacuation.
Then I saw my old jalopy
facing hers, as if a mirror
had found a twin just not as sloppy
cleaner, neater, richer, dearer.
I’ll take Her car, I paused to think,
and trade in for a better life —
I’ll bag my husband and my shrink
and be a better sort of wife.
Yes, I’ll take it and I’ll flee
away from my suburban jailors:
husband, housework, children three,
laundry, cooking, coupon-mailers.
I flipped the visor mirror and saw
the doppelganger wanna-be
a disheveled blonde with frowning maw
an evil, tired side of me.
I slumped back in her leather seat
noticed her Gucci sunglasses there
imagined her country club so neat —
God, we’d feel like asses there.
Swaddled in her premium automobile
I was o’ertaken by pleasant daydreams of
Manolo Blahnik stiletto heels,
lunches at the Golden Dove.
Benefits aboard a yacht
decked out in Dolce and Gabbana —
“Some little nothing I just bought,”
Sipping Cristal with Ivanna.
In this reverie I sat
in a sort of mental attack
when “Mom” I heard again from Matt
who’d been so quiet in the back.
I turned to see my little son
who looked at me with eyes so wide,
my innocent and trusting one
not knowing I was Mr. Hyde.
I realized then that no matter how pampered
filled with serenity and joy
my doppelganger’s life was hampered
by lack of my kids — girls and boy.
If she had kids and so she did
according to her decorations
despite their brilliance mine outbid
them in winning my affections.
I could not make the trade; I sighed
“Let’s Go!” I said to my little Pea
when coming out of the store I spied
a thinner replica of me.
“Get Out!” I hissed and grabbed the food
and toilet paper by the load
I snatched the cart and Matt I shooed
out of the car and down the road.
Again my key; my car chirped back
I hustled my little boy inside —
he found his book, his toy, his snack
and there he waited while I spied.
My double came and claimed her car
no inkling did she have of me
despite the door I left ajar
and my lost can of Pepsi Free.
Tossing her designer purse
she mounted her shiny silvery throne
I ducked and hissed a little curse
as my steering wheel hit my bone.
She drove off talking on her phone
about exciting things no doubt.
I said to Matthew “Let’s go home”
and “Behave or you’ll get a timeout.”
Filled with a newfound thankfulness I drove
home to my modest little dwelling
and with new eagerness I strove
to find my children without yelling.
“Come and give your mom a hug!”
I said to urchins one two three.
“Wait — what have you done to the rug?”
And so ended our brief jubilee.
Love this, Kathryn, probably because it happened to me–getting into a duplicate Subaru. The driver behind the wheel politely asked, “Can I help you?” So chagrined!