Sleeper Steal

The sun hit the stained-glass
in a strange way and
bathed the dull vermilion stone
in its mysterious light.
I sat among the beam,
flood-lit like an unreliable vehicle
on farmland garage tarmac.
No sum of tools and expertise
mends jaded eyes or lined foreheads.
I cover my shattered-glass face
with beard and brim.
I cover my skin, stretch-marked,
marred by growth of muscle and
alcohol abuse and chicken belly.
I rusted over time as I was
left to the elements.
Acid rain stripped away my tarp,
thunderstorms dented my doors,
blades of grass and stalks of knapweed
reclaimed my white-walled tires.

I was parked because the farmer’s daughter
put me in the ditch
after a night of heavy drinking.
They tried to take her keys
but one reliant friend
in the throes of an MDMA dance party
reached into the veiled cookie-jar and
was able to retrieve the gilded fob
for the tower-bound princess.
She fit into my bucket seat,
adjusted my steering column,
manipulated my gearbox and,
strapping herself in,
turned me over
until I purred into the night
and beamed into the road.
We made a great team
but we dashed ourselves upon
the rocky shores of the ditch.
She has since moved on.
Though, when she visits home
she likes to come and sit inside of me
and stroke my steering wheel and
remember the days when we were
unbeatable
at the drag strip,
forever
in the pole position.

Other girls come and look,
speaking in hushed tones to the farmer:
“How much will you let him go for?”
The number is always too high.
So sayeth the farmer: “Girl, I tell you hu-what:
This here is the sleeper steal of the week.
You dump some oil in that reservoir and
fill that thirty-gallon gas tank and,
in the name of God,
give that machine a little TLC,
‘fore too long you’ll be rip-roarin’ down the road
like Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise.”
But the number is always too high.
But one day soon, I’ll be back on the road.
They might have to take it a little easy
on the joints and the pistons and
clean up my interior.
But there is life left in my engine and
I will throttle down the road and
gearheads will worship my blessed V8.

(From September 2015)

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