HPN

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Poetry of Issue #8        Page 36

Black and White and Gray All Over

Down a steep muddy driveway,
the auto restorer’s garage.
A character in a film noir,
I’ll drive the ’53 Hudson
to a notorious crime scene,
then abandon it with a body
bent and stinking in the trunk.

You don’t believe this will happen,
but this plot is destined for film stock
left over from my childhood
when big men shaped like bullets
warped women with their dialogue—
a mélange of flattery and tough.

Look, this driveway is real enough
to muddy my shoes. The car
with its low windshield gleaming
in sloping afternoon sunlight
has already conveyed a corpse
or two in its long slow career.

Listen to that big engine throb,
spewing enough hydrocarbons
to fatally tilt the climate
in the course of one long road trip
from the east coast to the west,
from obscurity to stardom.

The restorer is a grimy fellow
who plays many casual roles
in his own life and others’.
Didn’t you have an affair with him
a year or two before your birth?
As I drive away, he returns
to the shadows and folds like a bat.

At the top of the driveway you stand
with folded arms, rebuking me
for adopting this alternative life—
so grainy and underexposed
we hardly recognize each other
except as exigent forms.

William Doreski