DAISY by McKenzie Walker

Image courtesy Hailey Owens

Mom had that look in her eyes again
Like an absence of reality.
She sent me away for another cab ride around town,
She told me for only an hour or so
But this was the fifth ride this month.
She promised me anything I wanted,
Ice cream or a new toy.
But I knew better,
She only makes promises when she sends me away
For the wrong reasons.

The taxi driver knows me by now
He calls me Daisy.
He says the way I look in the backseat
So small
So delicate
Reminds him of when he was younger
When his mom worked in her garden.
She would pick him a daisy
And put it in his lunch box
In the months before she passed.
It was tin and dented
With red and blue spaceships zooming to places beyond the moon.
But the daisy’s would become limp
And would smell of earth.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen that sadness
Lingering behind the minds-eye,
That bold transition from past to present
Stuns me every time.
One’s ability to disappear for a minute
But never physically go.
His old hands gripped the steering wheel tighter
Making the leather scream.
I could tell he was in pain.
I thought of those daisy’s often
Existing for so little time, in the dimensions of a small box.
I was that daisy
I could feel my pedals wilting
My roots gasping for air
Grounding myself into my own small box,
The back seat of that taxi,
Destined to repeat the same fate
Over and over again.