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(photo: davy carren)

She spoke of spare parts
and catalytic converters,
camshafts and
the Otto cycle;
and told me all about crown caps —
the first disposable product America ever made —
before opening my beer with her teeth.
We sat on the hood of a ’59 Bel Air
and didn’t smoke,
but ate sardine sandwiches;
watched as the sky lost its colors
over the slanted roof of the casino bar.
The air trilled and droned with ornery insects.
I told her white wine was for killing ants.
She told me then her stomach must be full of ants.
“We should’ve fallen in love, sometime, you know?”
“Sure. The sometime just never did come, I guess.”
“Your parents never could stand me.”
“Guess not. Figures. The things we put up with.”
“Always something, even when it’s nothing.”
A ladybug landed on the back of my hand.
We held still, didn’t speak,
and then she leaned down and spit at it:
a solid, vicious loogie filled with wonderful faith and understanding.
The ladybug fled for fairer weather.
Everything was just the same as it ever could be.
I splashed beer on the windshield
for all the dead soldiers
and dead roses and gods and psychics and diners,
and for us
too.
Then she brushed herself off,
hopped down from the hood,
pulled a scissor jack out of the trunk,
and proceeded to fix our flat.

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