Early Introduction to Freud

by Gwen Hart

We’re gonna be speed-demons, ain’t we?
said a boy I’d never seen before,
who was suddenly knee-to-knee with me,
having slid his folding chair across the floor
at driver’s ed. I was fifteen,
driving slow circles in parking lots. He was eighteen,
there to get points off his license.
He sized me up with a glance,
decided he could afford to be licentious.

I opened my mouth to say No,
but the lights went out and the film reel
flickered. A state trooper with two gold teeth and a crooked nose
informed us that the accidents we were about to see were real.
I saw a car go up on two wheels;
I saw a head roll out from the back seat
and off to the side of the road. I didn’t watch the rest.
I stared at my lap, felt the warmth of his breath
on my neck. Hey, baby, he said, fingers brushing my breast.
I thought, You’re hitting on me during Highways of Death?
I wanted to push him away, but froze,
my body rigid in a corpse’s pose.
I heard screams, not my screams, but the screams from the street-
scene, and the grill-to-grill, teeth-to-teeth force of his kiss
made my shuddering heart go something like this:
sex-and-death, sex-and-death, sex-and-death.

Gwen Hart teaches writing at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA, where she lives with her husband, the fiction writer Roger Hart, and over 300 lbs. of Newfoundland dogs.