Leveler Poetry Journal
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Counting Cars


Head pressed against the window

Ian counts cars on the highway;

another red makes 53

and though his favorite is falling behind

only 19 so far,

he secretly hopes blue will win.


He is only 5 and doesn’t know yet

that he’ll always be good in math

that he’ll come to trust the exactness of

equations, the safety in numbers.


He’ll want mathematics to explain the universe,

but will have difficulty accepting the unsolvable.


Ian’s mother hasn’t told him yet, of his older sister,

stillborn 2 years before him,

and it will be 9 more years before he’ll learn

that his parents cannot withstand a wreck

at 75 miles per hour, this a remainder

he will always carry. For now,


though, he’s content counting cars.

When they reach 100, he’ll celebrate

by asking to stop for ice cream.

Back in the car, he’ll start over with 1.

Brian Cordell