Stephen Gardner

The engineís rumble arrives
before the machine. He wrings
his hands in the rag, hangs
the rag in his pocket.
The paisley red looks good
draping down his skinny
hip. She likes the pose.

Thereís not an engine
that he canít make run
again. Heís taken a Cord
wide-open and burning
from Albuquerque to Salinas
with only a wrench, pliers,
and black tape. She throbs

thinking about it, believes
the road is all shoulders, 
knows itís merely perfume
curling above the asphalt
in the evening heat. 

He believes much less, 
that the curves are soft
and the valves are tight.

When sheís gone,
he wipes his hands
on his jeans, remembers
itís time to change
the oil.
Originally published in The Connecticut Review

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