Civility in the Parking Lot

Eleanor Levine

New Jersey tar lines
deconstruct one’s
brain in a Volvo;
the calm of an arc; your ass
on a leather chair heated;
a mobile phone next to you
squeaking hyphens and periods.
God is in relaxed mode and you
do yoga or gyrate to the Ramones or
phone John Hinckley Jr and ask if
he has recovered from Jodie Foster
or Jodie Foster, if she’s forgiven.
The demeanor of storefront mall
highway scenery that boasts
New Jersey in fistfuls of irony:
a library of parked cars
unfolds as Volvos stop where
gas links the mind—besotted
by racial nightmares, if you’re black,
or police don’t ask, if you’re white;
or animal rights activists smash
your windows because the dog
is left in 90-degree weather;
the car mollifies the soul
more than Icelandic waterfalls.

Eleanor Levine's writing has appeared in more than 80 publications, including Fiction, Evergreen Review, The Toronto Quarterly, Faultline Journal of Arts and Letters, South Dakota Review, Breakwater Review, The Citron Review, Heavy Feather Review (print edition). Her poetry collection, Waitress at the Red Moon Pizzeria, was published by Unsolicited Press (Portland, OR) in 2016. Her short story collection, Kissing a Tree Surgeon, was published by Guernica Editions (Canadian publisher) in 2020. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by The Hollins Critic in 2021 for her poem “Elizabeth.”