Hugh MacDonald
The year I got my driver's license
my cousins had a red
1960 Plymouth Valiant
with a stick shift,
whose handle
in a second and fourth gears
with its black plastic knob
slid well up
onto the upholstery
in the middle of the front seat.
One my cousins
showed me a story
in True Men's Adventure
about a girl
who had killed herself
in pleasure
on such a shift.
(Which I knew
to be impossible
because all girls
were too innocent
of the world
for such barnyard behaviour.)
On the rare occasions
when a young female
climbed into the car
to hitch a ride,
it was always exciting
to have her
cozy between us
and we apologized
when the awkwardly
inevitable occurred.
It surprised me
that once or twice
a pretty girl
willingly sat
with that gearshift
nestled between her legs
giggling with every shift of gears
with what I was certain
was embarrassment.
It never occurred to me
at that time
that she might be
enjoying the experience.