Skip to main content

Backseat Rider, a poem by Marjie Giffin

Backseat Rider
by Marjie Giffin

Crammed into the backseat
of my daughter’s new Toyota Rav4
with two life jackets, a sack
of boxed cookies, a carton full
of tri-colored tissue-wrapped gifts,
my hefty purse, extra tennis shoes,
and this notebook, I scribble.

I contemplate my destiny:
relegation to the backseat
for the rest of my days.
I now have senior status
which, translated, means
I pay for gas and hotel rooms
and stops for burgers and fries,
and I sit forever in the back
with the baggage.

I have brought too much stuff,
my suitcase weighs too much,
my head is in the way
of my son-in-law’s rearview mirror.

I need too many potty stops,
my phone volume is set too loud,
I forgot to bring the correct change
for the trail of toll booths.

My varicose veins throb
due to my crumpled position,
and my neck aches from
bending my head out of sight.

I dare not complain, or I will be
stereotyped as a crabby old biddy—
anything I say can so easily
be turned against me.

Up front, the radio is dialed
to their station, the cup holders
are filled with their drinks,
and there, the leg-room is ample.

Back here, I chafe away at my age
and suddenly understand my mother
so much better than I did when, years
before, I assigned her to the same seat.

From Marjie Giffin: I am a Midwestern writer who has authored four regional histories and whose poetry has recently appeared in Snapdragon, Poetry Quarterly, Flying Island, So It Goes Literary Journal of the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, the Saint Katherine Review, Through the Sycamores, and the Blue Heron Review. One of my plays was recently produced in the IndyFringe Short Play Festival. I'm active in the Indiana Writers’ Center and have taught both college writing and gifted education.