Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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Prose Poem
327 words
SHJ Issue 13
Fall 2015

Teaching at Night

by Jefferson Navicky

My car wouldn’t start one night last week after my night class got out. I had to call a tow truck, and ride home with the driver. It was snowing and was supposed to turn to ice in the early hours. The driver said he hadn’t felt well that night, but couldn’t call out. He worked six p.m. to six a.m. six days a week and lived more than two hours away. I tried to tell myself, the crazy things we do when we’re young, as he was probably almost fifteen years younger than me and reminded me of my students at the community college who are trying to leave towing and plowing, and get into plumbing or automotive repair.

But the truth is, I’ve never worked that hard, not even when I was twenty-two. As we drove home that night on the interstate, and the snow picked up, I asked him if he ever gets to sleep when he’s working. Sometimes, he said, for an hour or so, if I’m lucky, a little catnap. We exited and drove slow up the ramp. He pulled the truck to the side of the road. I thought a strap had come loose on the bed, but he only opened the door and vomited onto the black road, wet clumpy liquid in a pile like someone hurriedly dumped a slushy from 7-Eleven. Sorry, he said and wiped his mouth with his hand, that’s the third time tonight. He took a swig of Gatorade.

He dropped off my car at the mechanic, and as my wife sat waiting for me in her car a few feet away to drive me home to bed, I thanked him. Have a good night, he said and extended his hand.

I paused for a split second, not knowing if I wanted to shake, but then I did it anyway, realizing as I did that he’d wrapped his hand in his sweatshirt sleeve.

SHJ Issue 13
Fall 2015

Jefferson Navicky’s

work has appeared in Horse Less Review, Tarpaulin Sky, Beetroot, Quickfiction, and HOBART. He teaches English at Southern Maine Community College, and lives in Freeport, Maine with his partner Sarah.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury