Noor Shahzad

After My Father Began Experiencing Symptoms of an Autoimmune Disease

I named the old Ford Escort after Princess Diana –

somewhere I read Diana

too, drove an Escort. This one was shit, I parked it on one-

ways so others would veer

or stick their heads out and watch it, like it was a lady. A

lady whose nipples

protruded beneath fitted cotton. Diana died in a traffic

collision. After my father

received his yellow cab license from the TLC in ’88, he

drove Billy Joel all over.

Joel was a drunkie monkey, a gambler. Would sit in the

back seat and play poker

on his laptop. Driving Joel was a sort of

pilgrimage – a badmouthing

of past wives, past lives, the Third Reich, Ronald Reagan,

managers, public schools,

and America. To hell with it, they’d declare, going hell-for-

leather through

Long Island. Both Joel and my father got into motorcycle

accidents. Not together.

The junk hunk Escort has almost killed me several times,

with its failing brakes,

pinhole leak in the radiator, but it keeps alive the fail-fasts

of royalty, fame,

and all that to which my father says to hell with.


Noor Shahzad is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, where she is studying poetry. Between classes and writing, she works as a teaching assistant at 826 Boston, a non-profit youth literacy program for underserved students.