“Incompetence” by Mark D. Hart

Mark D. Hart


It’s uncanny how often
when I sit on this bench
by the bakery someone really
screws up parallel parking
in the space next to me.
It’s uncanny how this space
is often empty while all
other spots are filled.

Is it cursed? The drivers
are always female, which
is not PC of me to notice,
and young—this is a
college town. I watch them
hit the curb, go up onto it,
or end up so far from the curb
they need a drawbridge.

They jockey forward and
backward, ending up
no closer, start over again
in traffic, end no better.
They notice me watching,
which in this frustration
produces inevitably
an embarrassed smile.

I compound the problem,
but I return the smile
in empathy and bemusement
and just a slight edge
of flirtation. I feel better
and go about my day,
thinking about how our
incompetence connects us.

from Rattle #33, Summer 2010
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