Madeleinne • Marc Swan

She looked very cool behind the wheel of her 280ZX,
sunroof back,
window down,
long brown hair flying.
She had perfect teeth,
a small tight body—
later almost anorexic,
but when I knew her she was just right,
and her smile—
well it was warm and natural and often.
She prided herself on two things:
her name with the two Ns,
her body heat with an extra degree,
kind of like the Kathleen Turner character,
which may have been the source of this attribute.
I’ll never know.
We never played the thermometer game.
She had an older son from a previous marriage,
a younger son from the current one,
but the marriage was rocky.
She didn’t choose well it seems,
but she was young
and wanted to be on her own,
escaping a brand of poverty I’d never known.
She was from East LA and had gotten away
to Woodland Hills,
a comfortable life,
except for that yearning.
On our last date we went to a show
with a John Lennon theme,
a month after he was shot.
She wanted to dance all night,
I was partied out.
She never did seem satisfied.
That next curve in the road loomed ahead
as she took the wheel of her red ZX,
dropped into first,
slammed down
the accelerator
roared off—
long brown hair
blowing free,
left hand waving out the window.