A WIDOW DISCOVERS HER TIRES ARE BALD WHEN THE “CHECK ENGINE” LIGHT COMES ON
Just days before he slipped off, he asked
if she had the loose piece of side chrome attached,
the oil changed, he didn’t want his car falling apart,
never mind her, the unmechanical one, who rode this life
alongside him, each with their separate tasks
and now they’re all hers. She thinks the car might need oil
again, like she could use some zip, but can’t figure out
where the hood latch is. On her knees, she squeezes her head
under the driving wheel panel, such a mystery of gadgets,
so many mysteries to solve to keep things running in his loss.
No latch to be found she sits back on her heels,
then notices the tires are almost bald, something like her hair
coming out in clumps these months, and wonders
how that happened overnight. She barely goes anywhere
while he just up and vanishes—with no directions.
Maybe he travels while she sleeps, letting the good times roll.
from Rattle #19, Summer 2003
Tribute to the Twenty-Minute Poem
[ download audio]
Perie Longo: “A friend recently sent me a card of a woman jumping in the air at the sight of a mountain range, with the saying, ‘Life is too short to take seriously.’ I’m trying to laugh at myself a little more often, especially in unguarded moments, and trying, too, to capture those times in poetry.” ( website)