It Only Made Sense

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After my mother died,
my sister found a bundle
of yellowed letters:

how my dad had planned
to skip out, to leave the States
with someone he’d met, a Brit.

Beautiful, no doubt.
But he didn’t leave. Not then,
anyway. Someone talked him

out of it: my German grandfather,
the dour Ernest, who never said
a word to us.

A blonde. I remember her
that way. I was seven, maybe.
A blonde who followed us.

Was it a chrome-​bright Pontiac
convertible (or only a Chevy)
that sent us flying from our seats?

She was screaming something.
What I remember: the crush
of metal, as she hit us again,

again, until my dad accelerated
& escaped, with a few quick turns
to somewhere safe.


Pittsburgh Quarterly is now accepting submissions for its weekly online poetry feature. PQ Poem is seeking poetry from local, national and international poets that highlight a strong voice and good use of imagery, among other criteria. To have your work featured, send up to three previously unpublished poems in Word or PDF format as well as a brief bio to

Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but if work is accepted elsewhere, please alert us.


Joan E. Bauer

Joan E. Bauer is the author of The Almost Sound of Drowning (Main Street Rag, 2008). With Judith Robinson and Sankar Roy, she co-​edited Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami (Bayeux Arts and Rupa & Co, 2005). For some years she worked as a teacher and counselor and now divides her time between Venice, CA and Pittsburgh, PA, where she co-​hosts and curates the Hemingway’s Summer Poetry Series.

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