The Red Cadillac
by Jessica Goody
Every time I see a red Cadillac,
I think of him, the car matching
every stop sign and traffic light.
A magical, metallic red, a candy
apple color with a summer-heat
shimmer like quartz. I am the co-pilot
belted beside him as the car consumes
the striped asphalt passing beneath us.
The red Cadillac idles at the red light.
My eye is drawn to the tinted window,
waiting for him to lean out and wave.
It will not be him in the driver’s seat.
He no longer plays fighter pilot at the
steering wheel, wearing his leather
aviator jacket, his pale eyes shielded
from the glare. The music changes with
every passing year; I grow taller, leaving
a higher imprint in the headrest, a ghost
of a bygone childhood. The car no longer
shines with enthusiasm at our imagined
adventures of fighter jets and car chases.
It has been driven away, sold or scrapped.
Someone else sits in it now, watching the
rain beading the windshield and arguing
in the backseat. The scent and sounds
of our weekend excursions, our secret
missions, have evaporated, replaced by
pine-forest air fresheners and bleached
upholstery. No longer are we two spies
tailing double agents in the sedan ahead.
The taillights flash red in the darkness
like curious nocturnal eyes, a distance
measured in memories instead of miles.
Jessica Goody was born and raised on Long Island. She currently lives in South Carolina, where she writes for SunSations Magazine. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including Reader’s Digest, The Seventh Wave, Event Horizon, Really System, Chicken Soup for the Soul, and The Maine Review. Her poem “Stockings” was awarded second place in the 2015 Reader’s Digest Poetry Competition. Her poetry collection Defense Mechanisms will be released by Phosphene Publishing in January 2017.