The Burden of Responsibility

The Burden of Responsibility

I remember sitting in the driver’s seat
when I was 14.
Mom had asked me to start the car
that freezing morning in January,
and I felt like a racecar driver:
the engine rumbled to life,
and I felt so powerful –
like I somehow could make things happen.
I wanted to careen down the highway
at “a buck fifty” like my uncle always said
and listen to all my friends as we laughed
on our way across the state to the beach –
no worries at all.

Last week, I got my license:
“the only test I’ll ever study for.”
The day before me, Ben Waterson,
our class treasurer,
got his license
and a shiny, brand new casket
4 hours later.

These keys are heavy,
and I am some mad scientist bringing to life
something that maybe should stay dormant.
I hate that I can cause so many terrible things.
I feel the burden of responsibility,
like I want to just get home,
so I am no longer a danger –
a roaring box of fire.

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