Poetry: Ode to My 1977 Toyota

Ode to My 1977 Toyota
–Bar­bara Hamby
From Babel

Engine like a Singer sewing machine, where have you
     not car­ried me-to dance class, grocery
into the heart of dark­ness and back again? O the fruit
     you’ve trans­port­ed-cher­ries, peaches,
water­mel­ons, thou­sands of Fuji apples-books,
     and all my dark thoughts, the giddy
ones, too,
like bot­tles of cham­pagne popped at the wed­ding of two people
     who will pass each oth­er on the street
as strangers
in twen­ty years. Ronald Rea­gan was pres­i­dent when I walked
     into Big Chief Motors and saw you
on the lot like a slice of broiled mahi mahi or sushi
     with­out its top­knot of tuna. Remember
the months
I drove you to work singing “Some Enchant­ed Evening”?
     Those were scary times. All I thought
was get­ting on I‑10 with you and not stop­ping. Would you
     have made it to New Orleans? What would
our life
have been like there? I’d for­got­ten about poet­ry. Thank God,
     I remem­bered her. She saved us both. We
were young
togeth­er. Now we’re not. Col­lege boys stop us at traf­fic lights
     and tell me how cool you are. Like an
ice cube, I say,
though you’ve nev­er had air con­di­tion­ing. Who need­ed it?
     I would have missed so many smells
with­out you–
con­fed­er­ate jas­mine, mag­no­lia blos­soms, the briny sigh
     of the Gulf of Mex­i­co, rot­ting ‘pos­sums
along 319 between Sop­chop­py and Panacea. How many holes
     are there in the bal­let shoes in your
back seat?
How did that pair of men’s white loafers end up in your trunk?
     Why do I have so many ques­tions, and why
are the answers like the ani­mals that dart in front of your headlights
     as we dri­ve home from the coast, the
Milky Way
strung across the black vel­vet bowl of the sky like the tiara
     of some impos­si­bly fat empress who rules
the universe
but does­n’t know if tomor­row is Decem­ber or Tues­day or June first.

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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