Fifty years ago, I’d just turned eighteen.
The clerk at the Fitchburg, Massachusetts MVA
noticed that the address on my license application
was Thayer Hall, my college dorm.
He said, no, not allowed.
Said state law doesn’t recognize a college dormitory
as a “permanent residence”.
So,where was my home?
I said my father was living with his new girl friend
whose name I hadn’t yet learned
in her Manhattan apartment
whose address I didn’t yet know.
I said my mothers address was the female nurses quarters
at the New England Memorial Hospital in Stoneham.
Which address did he suggest I use?
I must have touched a nerve.
as this seemingly officious motor vehicle administration minion
vaulted his service desk fortress,
atonement stamp clutched in his fist,
tears on his cheeks, I swear,
validated my Massachusetts drivers license
and affirmed that I was legal
and could drive forward into my, then, foggy future
for I surely had no place to go behind me,
and, once again in my life,
mercy and justice kissed each other.