If one owned a car in Blue Jay
it was just as likely to be in the back yard
as in the driveway.
It was just as likely that
one would take parts off to sell
as one would buy parts to put on.
The front seat was just as likely
to be warmed by Skeeter, the coon hound,
as Aunt Franny’s fanny being hauled around.
Kathleen’s car was in purgatory.
Twelve years of bath-free minimal care,
harsh use and hard weather,
had planted the old Chevy
firmly at an undetermined point
on the eye-sore-to-rust-bucket continuum.
It did run, with a bang
that harmonized with the music
of hunting season,
and its smoke snakes
slithered invisibly through
mornings of impenetrable fog.
The choking venom poked noses
when the fog wafted.
Once a shiny new Baby Blue
it had grown a densely-knitted,
and paint once as smooth
as a baby’s butt had erupted
into ugly sandpaper.
She had taken us to town,
to the market, to school,
wherever our destination might be,
but such was our shame to be seen
that we dropped a coin, a book,
a paper and leaned over to pick it up,
so nobody would see.
In fact, Kathleen hauled most of the kids
to one place or another,
but you only ever saw her driving alone.