Victoria Nordlund

We Didn’t Wear Seatbelts in 1977

Four jets from an Air Force stunt team crashed today, one after another, into the rugged Nevada desert and exploded in flames, killing all four pilots. New York Times 1982

The Girl with the Mushrooms under the Rainbow by Konstantin Somov

I am 8 and driving to Seaside Park Beach
in the trunk of my Dad’s 1973 MG

watching cars get super near
to the hatchback’s glass.

My brother, Mike who rides here too
makes jokes about Pintos

catching on fire
when they are hit from behind–

trapping the occupants inside.
The windows are all down and

Dad pops in an 8-track
cartridge of the Carpenters

and tells us that he got the hard-top model
because convertibles aren’t safe.

And Mom says this car is white
so no one can miss us.

And Dad says, “Thank God
it’s not snowing today.”

It is 1977 we don’t have sunblock,
or hats, or glasses, or umbrellas,

or squamous cell carcinomas.
Mike is a lifeguard

at McGuire Air Force Base’s pool
who cooks himself well-done

with Johnson’s Baby Oil.
It is satisfying to pull off sheets

of my sunburned skin–
As we get off the turnpike,

we talk about meeting
the Thunderbirds at the Officers’ Club.

How I got all their autographs.
How Mike loves how they flew so close together–

And we marvel how we couldn’t
hear anything for two days after the air show.


About the writer:
Victoria Nordlund is an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut. Her chapbook Binge Watching Winter on Mute will be published in Summer 2019 by Main Street Rag. She is a 2018 Best of the Net and Pushcart Prize Nominee whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in PANK Magazine, Rust+Moth, Gone Lawn, Maudlin House, and other journals.

Image: The Girl with the Mushrooms under the Rainbow by Konstantin Somov (1869-1939). No medium specified. No size specified. 1922. Public domain.