To The White ’95 Dakota Sport My Sister’s Father Used to Drive

By Molly Stadler


When you were there

Parked haphazardly, not quite between the lines

On the blacktop of the Meijer parking lot

It meant he was there

Sitting in your driver’s seat, staring at us through 

Your windshield


I can still see you

And the colorful faces 

On the slab of wood my grandfather painted

Zip-Tied to your grill

And caught between headlights


I remember you 

Outside my second home

Beside the neighbor— his friend’s house

Whose music blared when it got dark; and in front of 

The tiki torches he insisted to buy which

Eventually caught fire sometime

Late at night


You meant trouble in my six year old mind


You were idle 

On the pavement

Waiting outside his work while

We came to visit him

And you stood still as voices grew 

Icy, harsh, loud

And palms slammed against windows before

He jumped on the hood of my 

Mom’s car as 

We tried to drive away


You lounged in the shade

Underneath the mulberry tree

At the third house

Watching through the little window on the door

As he shoved my mother down the stairs

My sisters and I crying as she stood up, and

Rushed us to the bathroom 

Locking the door behind her before

He started beating on it


You froze 

Like a scratched DVD 

While he became some sort of animal

Climbing up the terrace of the 4th home

And trying to break in

While my sisters and I huddled together 

Locked in my room, listening

To my mother’s screaming


And you never

Hit the gas to crash—

To run him over, no

You just watched.

Like a child on Saturday morning