We, the impermanent ones,
Who are doomed to a life of going
And coming, day to day
And hour to hour wearing away,
Find in objects a brief salvation.
We found the article one day
In the Asbury Park Press,
"48 Hudson 4-DR, ST 8, green,
Good condition, 5000 miles,
Needs new tires and a battery."
I went with dad on Saturday
And met an ancient woman, hardly
Able to read the key tag.
The car was there beside
Rotted sea tackle and a pipe rack
In the garage out from the house.
"It's sat eight years," she said,
But I could never stand to sell it.
Henry loved it and kept it to himself.
No one but him drove it, till he died.
A heart attack. So sudden. It
Reminds me of him and I could not
Bear to part with it. Here, take the keys."
We renewed the oil, bought
Five tires, and a battery. It
Ground, kicked on the third turn,
Roaring back to life. "For fifty dollars
And a form it's ours!" We drove
Toward the Delaware and
Motored on, passing winding
Farms and pale, still horses. Ripe hay
Lolled in the idle summer.
As we drove, a strange scent
Grew and filled the car,
Tobacco fumes from a long dead
Pipe and man.
We stopped and found a leather pouch
Under the seat frame, eight years forgotten.
Dad looked and put it back.
Then we turned toward home.
Places where tobacco fumes
And a faded green car will take you?
Copyright 2004 by David King.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.