and she knew all about cars so would she
help him. She said she knew all about horses,
but he said, horse power, same thing,
so, neck brace, crutches, all, she went. All
up and down the Gordon Highway, used
car banners like jockeys’ colors flew.
They stroked old steering wheels, inspected tires,
patted boots and opened hoods like mouths
to check the teeth. He wanted sound
but cheap. Look, she said, this old grey
dray horse, full-sized, V8, air-sprung, power
brakes, leather seats like new, like on the hoof. Hit some-
body in this old tank, or they hit you, you’ll never know it.
Already sick, and penniless he claimed,
he bought it anyway, 6000 cash,
as if an accident might be the horse that threw him.
No sooner home than the back began to fill,
trash like water in a flash flood, trash
until all but the driver’s seat was drowning.
He drove to her house three weeks later,
falling, staring, shaking, vomiting. Where’s my car,
he asked her hourly, until he stopped
believing in cars or hours at all.
She kept the car, inherited, his nephew said,
drove it in lieu of the spinal operation –
This car saved my life, she says
and slaps the dash the way she would a stallion’s neck.
Good boy, good boy, she says to him, good boy.
For S.F. Jr (1935-2013)
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash