Her brother let the clutch out much too fast
the first time he tried to start up the van
in the parking lot of the store that closed.
I told her how he lurched and jerked and ran
over the orange cones that I took to use
from soccer practice as a parking space.
The VW died, he swore, but tried
again and then again–giving more gas
and slooowly letting up the clutch. She learned
and did the opposite: the engine roared
as she held in the clutch and mashed the gas
pedal to the floor. I yelled to be heard
above the engine noise, “Let up, let up!”
and as she pulled both feet up, the car died,
of course. She threw the keys at me and cried.
She took the class at school and got an “A.”
– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, October 9, 2013