Tow Truck Incident in nouns

by Wells

The prior week:

My mother-in-law

Sleepless days and nights

Her own mother’ illness

Her night terrors,

A whole week.

My wife

Her plans to visit her mother, home for the weekend:

A trip to church first,

The preparation,

Phone calls made,

A peck goodbye,

A glance out the window

A fucking car parked in front of our driveway.

A putting-on of shoes.

A jog down the stairs.

Honks of our own horn.

Neighbors’ doorbells unanswered.

A call to the police.

An hour with the garage door open.


A call to the pizza place.

One cop.

His futile siren.

His call the Main Towing Co.

More and  more minutes.

The tow truck, too big for this job, but it’s the one they sent.

The ramp,

The winch,

The cop who eventually says hello to everyone on our block, whom he knows.

The cacophony,

A gingerly running man,

Short hair,

Adult paunch,

A wave to the officer,

The officer’s sterning up.

All the steeling that will be necessary.

The plaintive argument.

The “It doesn’t work that ways”.

The pointing out of

The business card that was right there in his window.

The disappointment that we didn’t just call him.

The apology.

An apology less like “Now we understand” and more like “You brought this upon yourself.”

The pulling on of mime pants

The “I was dressing my father.”

Father himself who’d hobbled down the block to lean on another car, gaping at this.

The traffic backed up.

The car loaded onto the truck.

The pulling away.

A convoy.

My wife’s trip, begun.

My pizza, ordered during the fiasco, delivered.

Gratitude that the delivery had not happened while the sad man who we’d rightly screwed was demonstrating how he’d been dressing his sick father.

This poem, hours later.