Night blue, the size of a walk-in closet,
so long, it was like driving a big fish,
back seat bustle finning behind.
My parents bought if from an old couple
at church for five hundred dollars,
the compartment between seats
a file of neatly folded invoices: oil changes,
tune-ups dating from the time of birth.
I tried not to drink, but compulsion
rose out of me, air hazy
with cigarette smoke, star light
I could touch with my bare
feet, and my chest opened up,
scarves pulled from inside,
away from the earth.
The road glowed like something
cut open, and I would do anything
to stay on my way to the ABC
or this time, Big C Liquor,
and a driving pint of Southern
Comfort like drinking thick cologne.
That night I kept drinking, but left
the car in the parking lot of a bar, found
myself walking the road miles from home,
half my clothes still in the olds, cold.
But weeks later, I was sober, driving
the highway across from the fire station
and Rent-A-Center when someone
rear-ended me so hard, my car
accordioned, flattened all the blue
right up to the front seat, so that I
couldn’t open my door, my boat
of a car taking the blow, keeping
all my bones whole, breath intact,
a fireman talking to me through
the window so kindly, I cried.
I knew that I was bad, ruined
beyond repair, but his tone
built me up like hands. A friend drove
to the junkyard that night, behind
the million necklace fence, the olds
easy to find, small now. I was there
for the silver hood ornament,
and my friend said, you’re a romantic
with surprise, accidents all around.