Today's poem is by William Notter


Now I will consider my purple Plymouth Duster.
For it was assembled in Michigan the month of my conception.
For Plum Crazy is the name of its color.
For that color survives only in the door iambs and inside the trunk.
For the exterior paint is dark and cracked and weathering down to
      primer gray.
For its finish proves the car has endured sun and blizzards and hail and
      gravel blown across the plains.
For the roof supports a colony of black mold from five years in the South.
For it has helped me weather the tempests of Colorado, Missouri, three
      women, and Texas.
For it cost me less than some people spend on shoes.
For its starter may he changed without crawling underneath and becoming
      greasy or suffering grime in the eyes.
For its oil filter may be removed from above, without hot oil running
      down the arm.
For its one-barrel carburetor may be overhauled in the kitchen.
For its clutch makes a chattering sound.
For it has three gears which carry it forward and one which carries it back.
For its heater can save the engine from boiling over in traffic on a summer
For through its vents come the smells of alfalfa, donuts, wheat, cotton
      poison, pine, refinery tar, and the spice of thunderstorms on the
For it waits outside restaurants where I eat meat smoked with hickory,
      pecan, or mesquite.
For from beneath its hood comes the oily-hot smell of a Chrysler power
For its front seat becomes comfortable for a tired man of medium height
      to lie across.
For there I have lain and looked up at the pulsating stars.
For I have been lulled asleep there by the rustling of cottonwoods and
      the running of creeks.
For I have awakened there to find the windows feathered with my frozen
For I have awakened there to the sun rising over mountains I did not
      know existed.
For I have been awakened there by the tapping of dew dripping from
      cypress boughs.
For I have awakened there above canyons filled rim-high with fog and
      prickly pear.
For I have awakened there to the smell of early sage and the mourning
      of doves.
For the car is sturdy and starts promptly and goes and does not hesitate.
For all its mechanisms are manual. It squanders no effort for luxury.
For it has taught me to forget the self through the honest work of hands.
For it lives by an economy of devotion. I maintain it and it carries me.

Copyright © 2009 William Notter All rights reserved
from Holding Everything Down
Southern Illinois University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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