A Plowman's Confession
IT'S MIDNIGHT and I’ve been driving for 28 hours straight. Haven’t fallen asleep yet. When you stare through the windshield this long you start to feel like you’re inside some inverted lunar snowglobe. Franklin, my wife would say, don’t be a martyr. She’d give me a frosty look and crack her knuckles. Always said she knew I was a cut above the way I lived, but couldn’t say it nice.
And even though there was sweetness just beneath the surface, like meat inside a crab, I never got past the spikes. So I stopped trying, and finally we couldn’t agree on nothing except that I had to go. Now I drive harder, longer, radio off, heat blasting inside this sweating monster with its dragging thrum and high beam eyes. I push into virgin snow with a year’s worth of trash buried inside it, my tracks of salt and slush marking one endless false trail, thinking maybe no one can find me, even me.
Then I hit an unseen curb with the blade of the plow and the recoil jolts me to when I left and she cried but didn’t say come back. Thing is, I know I could’ve been better. But at the end of my loop all I can do is let the pain in my back and legs—these invisible bites and pricks—count as penance for scrapping my best designs.
Ryan Tahmaseb is a graduate of Middlebury College’s Bread Loaf School of English and teaches at
The Meadowbrook School in Weston, Massachusetts. His writing has appeared in Kindred, *82 Review,
and Education Week, and his first chapbook, Mutual Incomprehension, was published by
Anchor & Plume Press in January 2016.You can find him online.