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Student Driver
Jayne Jaudon Ferrer


Funny the things you don’t notice
till life flashes before your eyes—
like how half the streets in my town
are too narrow . . .
like how 35 miles per hour
feels waaaaay too fast
when you’re in the passenger seat . . .
like how vivid the images can be
when contemplating death
by mailbox impalement.
Take it from one who survived:
far beyond the terrible twos,
light years beyond thirteen,
the Year of the Learner’s Permit
is the one that will gray your hair.
No matter how eager you think you are
to stop schlepping him all over town,
no matter how thrilled you think you will be
to send him to the store,
no matter how ready you think you are
to put him in the driver’s seat,
you are not.

From A Mother of Sons (Pocket Books, 1996; Loyola Press, 2004).
Used here with permission.


Jayne Jaudon Ferrer is the author of five books of poetry, a nonfiction book about games, and a novel, Hayley and the Hot Flashes. Jayne created in 2009 to share the pleasure and diversity of poetry. A former copywriter, magazine editor, newspaper columnist, and freelance journalist, her work has appeared in hundreds of publications. When not writing or reading, Jayne enjoys music, old movies, gardening, hiking, and good conversation. A native Floridian, she has lived in Greenville, South Carolina, for almost 30 years. Learn more about her at



Post New Comment:
Too cute Jayne. Ready or not maybe. Words that explain the excitement for your potential new family driver to the imagination of a mailbox impalement visual! Too funny. (Had a good laugh with Larry Schug's comments too!)
Posted 05/09/2024 09:04 PM
Proof that poetry has no limits in expressing our life experiences and emotions! This one hits home now that the experience is well in the past..allowing me to see the humor in it. From, another mother of sons :)
Posted 05/01/2024 07:36 PM
As a mother of sons, I get it!
Posted 04/29/2024 04:04 PM
Lori Levy:
So funny! I totally identify with this one. I still hate being in the passenger seat when my kids drive, so I guess I haven't gotten over it yet!
Posted 04/29/2024 03:40 PM
Lurv it!!!
Posted 04/29/2024 02:35 PM
Arlene Gay Levine:
Loved your humorous take on this "scary" subject; it started my day off with a big smile!
Posted 04/29/2024 01:33 PM
Robert Currie:
Robert Currie: A true--and entertaining--poem. I loved that line about mail box impalement.
Posted 04/29/2024 01:17 PM
Sharon Waller Knutson:
I laughed out loud at this poem because it is so true. Life is scary when you are not in the driver's seat. Especially when a teenager is behind the wheel. "Death by mailbox impalement" is hysterical.
Posted 04/29/2024 12:17 PM
My dad lasted 20 minutes ( in a parking lot!) , leaving instruction to drivers ed. Better for both of us.
Posted 04/29/2024 11:12 AM
michael escoubas:
Well-done, Jayne, this one will stir innumerable memories in the minds of YDP regulars!! I rather long for a return to those days.
Posted 04/29/2024 10:41 AM
Tom Sharpe:
Larry, we must be brothers.
Posted 04/29/2024 09:54 AM
Wilda Morris:
"The Year of the Learner's Permit." Yes, a frightful year. And we raised 5 teenagers. No wonder my hair is gray! A wonderful poem.
Posted 04/29/2024 08:48 AM
Posted 04/29/2024 08:33 AM
Darrell Arnold:
I'm laffin' Jayne. Been there, done that with my own kids. It was soooooo hard to be patient and to not yell.
Posted 04/29/2024 08:16 AM
Larry Schug:
That's how I felt when my mother was driving!
Posted 04/29/2024 07:34 AM
Gilbert Allen:
Funny and true!
Posted 04/29/2024 07:31 AM
Cute!! Love the mailbox implement. Randy Mazie
Posted 04/29/2024 05:51 AM

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