JIM DANIELS

 

Transportation Special

I slapped a bumper sticker on my glove box:
Know When To Say When with a menacing cocktail
for punctuation. I never drank cocktails.
Just Beer. They'll put that on your gravestone,
I told myself, starting it up outside The Two Brothers
before driving through a cyclone fence.
I left it on when I sold the car—a Plymouth
Satellite—for $100. Old Man who bought it
lived over on Audrey, answered my ad
in the Penny Saver: "Transportation Special."
I loved crawling under that car and sighing
oil and antifreeze. Old Man saw that sticker—
a little problem there?
I nodded. But I fixed it.

Here, I should talk about what saved me:
I fell asleep in the coffin of my toolbox.
I answered an ad in the Penny Saver.
I fell in love with a kind teller at the bank.
I bit into a lucky apple.
I kissed the dark spot on my x-ray.

Nothing saved me. I lied to the Old Man.
He paid cash and drove off. Little fizzy bubbles
rose from the cocktail.


Dogs

Raindrops shoved dust
into wet circles. She dropped
the word soul casually into conversation.

He turned away. He thought it might be
time. A drop landed in her ear.
People inside were waiting for them

to come in and tell the truth.
Her husband's dog was circling

and sniffing. His wife was steaming
the window, her eyes obscured.
Soul, he repeated. Soul music.

The dog didn't mind the rain, but they—
they couldn't hold out much longer.