While I was setting up my booth in Menlo Park, outside Walgreens, I briefly glanced a young lady with dyed hair driving away her beat-to-hell Civic – or something similar. This inspired the following poem.
are eighteen trying to look twenty-one.
is twenty-two wishing she were three.
Before that rear-end crump
you don’t even know about,
wishing she were younger than twelve or fifteen
when replacement panels started being transplanted
regardless of color
and the angry tire-kickings, followed by
days at the mechanic began
and her paint peeled in the sun.
are eighteen with multi-colored dyed hair
thinks you had done to match her.
is your first car,
a gift that nevertheless came
with the responsibility of complete care
for another individual.
takes you to work, knowing
this is how the two of you
buy gas, insurance, pay
mounting mechanic bills.
exhaust her getting to Coachella
is thrilled to give you so much fun,
feels terrible about the shredded tire
in the median on the I5 on the way home
when you’d yet to learn how to change a wheel,
hadn’t known how to tell you
she needed new shoes more than you did.
take on extra shifts
to catch up with the bills,
date the mechanic’s assistant
learn to change brakes and spark plugs,
inflate tires, check oil,
save for the down on something newer.
quits dreading feeling unwell
learns to love the name you gave her
different than the one her first owner did,
is delighted when you move to a smaller apartment
with an overhang garage
so she doesn’t have to sleep in the rain.
hit a truckload of spilled melons
on the freeway
wreck her into the sound wall.
saves you with her airbag,