Zen and Woman's Way of Parking

byDenise Sweet
We know sooner than we think
when the vehicle we are driving
refuses to be herded into its stall.
We crank the wheel and ease our way
around and in and back and forth
and then back out and forward and in
again and then back and forth and
back and forth 'til we have neatly
and carefully negotiated a big thing
into a small space. "It's all in the
wrist" when we speak of power steering
or, for that matter, our lover. And yet,

it is a manuever that requires integration
of our body, mind, and spirit. The contortive
efforts of the drive imitate Hatha yoga
positionings, as we are expected to see
front and behind this side and that side
All at the same time. Be in the here and now
in the parking lot. Serenity is not far behind.
Neither is the Volvo parked in the next lane.

And how quickly we computate space, density,
width, length and probability at that moment we
grind the gears from first to reverse and back
again; after careful deliberation, the geniuses
that we are, we arrive at the parking nudge
principle: simply put, it is a necessary and
a tender act to nudge the vehicle to the front
and back of us as we locate parameters of the
space we are to become. Oh to be parked in a
stall of our own, but spiritually connected with
all that exists around us. Nirvana is achieved.

And the headlights are on.

Let them call us "ladydrivers" let them curse
and shake their fists at "the battle axe behind
the wheel." We'll give them no fast break,
no free ride; indeed we will not yield
even thought the sign insists. Oh sisters,
this is the right way of revolution,
a woman's way of parking is knowing and seeing
and feeling our way around this hard, flat
landscape we call a parking space. We have finally
come to a place of which we surely belong.
We are at last in the driver's seat,
and we laugh in the face of cruise control.

© 1994 Denise Sweet
First published in Days of Obsidian, Days of Grace,, Poetry Harbor, Duluth, MN, 1994.
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