July 9 2015 – National Poetry Month – April 5th

April is National Poetry Month. I’m going to attempt to write one poem every day this month. Today’s poem: #5 for April 5th.

July 9, 2015

I pulled over to the shoulder of the on-ramp
The one from Neil Road,
getting onto South 395

I got out
Walked to the passenger side
Leaned my butt against the car

Closed my eyes,
took a few deep breaths,
and asked to see the situation differently

I opened my eyes.

On the rocky, dirty ground,
Was a shiny, red jewel heart

There was my answer,
A reminder to respond with love

It was a scorching hot day in July 2015
I was running errands with
my 14-year-old special needs daughter
We stopped by the grocery store

Miscommunication led to a full
Blown aggressive meltdown for Lillian

Grabbing and clawing at me
Pulling my hair

I panicked
Quickly leaving the store
Lillian following behind me
Screaming with the full force
Of her tiny body

Reaching the car
Losing all ability
To think logically

Lillian still in full-blown meltdown mode
I utter the ridiculous words,
“Get into the car if you want a ride home”

I wore a halter top that day
Lillian sits in the back,
behind the driver’s seat

We left the parking lot
Lillian began deeply scratching me
Pulling wads of hair from my head

Stuck in traffic
I could feel the blood dripping down my back
Head throbbing
From the chunks of hair being pulled out

The pain
Birthed intense anger
Lodging in my throat
Urging my tongue
To say something
Defend myself
Rip into this person
Attacking me

The anger flooded my mouth
Rising from my neck
Into my mind
Creating waves in my eyes
Waves that leaked
From the corners

The anger dripped into my chest
Trying to break the dam surrounding my heart
Making it’s way down my legs
Into my feet
Puddling in my toes

The anger moved with a typhoon
Force into my arms
Down to my hands
Into my fingers

Once pulled over
Turning to face Lillian
Hands gripping the headrest
The Anger erupted
My voice raised, my mouth let loose
With a colorful string
Of foul-mouthed words

Leave me the fuck alone
Stop hurting me
I don’t let anyone
Hurt me in this way
Never again

In pain
I knew I must remove myself
From the situation
I got out of the car

No jive talking here
Whatever your beliefs
Some shit aligned in that moment
For when I asked to see this
Fucking uncomfortable, horrible situation differently

I was presented with
This amazing shiny, red heart
In the trashy, dirty on-ramp shoulder
Off Neil Road,
Getting on South 395
In Reno, Nevada
The Biggest Little City
On a scorching, hot summer day
In July 2015.
Camilla Downs 2024

**Prompt: Write a poem about an experience finding something unexpected on the ground.**