The Man Who Invented the Turn Signal

Original Text: 
David Zieroth, How I Joined Humanity at Last Madeira Park, B.C.: Harbour, 1998): 108-10.
1The man who invented the turn signal
2walks out the factory gates
3somewhere in the west
4knowing he's done a service
5to the world hitting the road
6by telling the car behind
7it's turning; we speak
8as if the car has brains and eyes
9--and the man who invented the turn signal
10knows he should just listen to
11the meadowlarks
12now he's out the gates
13but his mind keeps
14going on, turning over
15itself in all the corners
16in order to make the signal
17come back to neutral
18on its own.
19Already he has foreseen
20a young woman driving a convertible--
21she forgets to pull her signal off
22so forever after she is turning
23and all the cars behind her,
24all the young men who follow her
25go off in directions she isn't going,
26she just keeps looking straight ahead.
27Our man imagines that woman needs
28him, wants his arm to reach over
29and gently flick the signal back
30and maybe she smiles
31or thanks him
32with her eyes, the blue
33he'll wake up to some day, some place
34he'd fix up for her, not
35the bungalow he's in now,
36he should be wealthy as can be:
37he invented
38the simple and worthwhile, so the future
39won't give a thought to it,
40he's already done that,
41arriving at last
42at that little rubber wheel
43the bigger steering wheel rubs and
44gently nudges back in place
45with the brilliance of plain devising,
46he could show her how it works,
47draw her attention to his genius, then
48gently drop his hand on hers,
49so cool on the wheel even though
50it was warm as sunny could be,
51so much stretching out
52between one meadowlark and another,
53and the gift
54of all those poles along the road, each one
55saying call me, you can call me,
56if I've ever wanted to love a man
57it would have to be someone like you,
58someone who has brains and hands
59like yours, good at signals
60I can pick up along this road.
61This is the 1950s,
62they come to love in a tender way,
63everything that can happen
64almost does. Best of all
65their children are golden
66from the sun.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire / Sharine Leung
RPO Edition: 
Special Copyright: 

Copyright © David Zieroth. Written permission is required to republish the poem.