Voices of Free Minds: “Rush Hour” by Grace Adams

I said I would never go back to college. It was too hard, too expensive, and I hated it. But this time is totally different. I’m studying English at Austin Community College, and Free Minds gave me purpose. It fed me. It awoke my creative life. It was the first time I’d done something for myself in a really long time.

Rush Hour

A red light.

The open jeep next to me thumps
Led Zeppelin – “The Letter.”

The young girls inside belt out
the lyrics and smoke clove cigarettes
while they bask their young, freckled faces
in the warm afternoon sun.

I inch the car forward.
A deep wave of melancholy grabs the wheel,
and takes me to a time
before my stomach strained against the confines of my waistband.

Before the two purple half-moons
of exhaustion rose on my face.

And stayed there.

Before I truly understood just how brutal gravity can be.

Longing overflows, and for a second
-less than a second-
my mind follows that longing.

I ease off the brake
and my thoughts return to you.
I know that when I get home,

that gap-toothed grin,
that glint in your coffee eyes,
that dimple that only deepens for real love,
is all the afternoon sun I need.

Grace Adams is a 2009 alumna of the Free Minds Project, a college course in the humanities for disadvantaged adults. Read more in “Minds on Fire” in the January|February Alcalde, and read more student writing here.


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