“My 1930 Model A Ford” by Norma Chapman

Norma Chapman


I was 14 when my mother gave it to me.
It was made when I was born,

Ford had figured out the perfect shape,
square, with an inside high enough for my head.

The town made me get a license.
Mother wouldn’t have. She didn’t believe in government.

I made my car go as fast as it could in circles.
It tried, like a reluctant dog wanting to please.

My friend Joyce and I danced to Glenn Miller on the radio
while we covered the car with flat green house paint.

I knew it was my car when my mother died,
and it came with me to my new home.

In our seventies, Joyce and I found each other again.
We mourned the car and our good times. Joyce is dead now.

I thought I’d see Joyce again. She seemed so alive in her letters.
That’s how we old people are. We seem so alive and then we’re not.

from Rattle #38, Winter 2012
2012 Rattle Poetry Prize Finalist


Norma Chapman: “I was thinking about someone I’d known when we were teenagers. We found each other again when we were old and then she died. I have a photo of the two of us after we had painted (with flat green house paint) my 1930 Model A Ford. We tried to look glamorous in that flamboyant teen-aged way—not so easy with paint brushes in hand.”

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