Jo McDougall

She Takes the Old Pontiac in for Repairs

The young service manager
comes round to explain,
as if someone were dying,

what will have to be done.  "It's more,"
he says gravely,"than we thought."
I want to tell him it's all right,

that I've heard worse,
that we're all orphans here.
Live long enough,

you might as well be a spider
in a corner of the basement,
year in year out

marvelously disguised.
But I like this young man,
trying to help me understand

the car is on its last breath.
"Another hour or so, Ma'am."
he smiles.  "I'm sorry for the wait."

It's all right; I'll be home soon,
perhaps to find you unpacking,
the cat murmuring to himself

like a contented chicken, the radio
waffling through its noise, the replenished
Pontiac exhaling slowly in the drive.


When Grief came to visit,
she hung her skirts and jackets
in my closet.
She claimed the only bath.

When I protested,
she assured me
it would be for but a little while.

Then she fell in love with the house,
repapered the kitchen,
laid green shag carpet in the den.

She's a good listener
and plays a mean game of Bridge.
But it's been seven years.

Once I ordered her outright to leave.
Days later she came back,

I'd enjoyed my mornings,
coffee for one,
solitary sunsets,
my Tolstoy and Moliere.

I asked her in.



  The 2River View