1985 Toyota Van
Back-seat intimacy of buckles and belts,
hot red vinyl. Steering wheel sticky
with sugar and grease. Late night confidante
to three past relationships. Every dent catalogued,
every rock that’s pocked the windshield, headlight
split on the logging road to Kennedy Lake.
Not knowing when the transmission will go,
but that it will, and soon.
Such a fierce love – goddamn it,
don’t quit on me now, willing her up steep grades
on the Coquihalla, fully-loaded –
a love that can’t help but let you down,
waiting for a tow truck at midnight;
power steering pump shot, last straw
on a lengthy list of hard-to-find-parts.
Repairs now more than triple her worth, it’s time
to give in to the Buy & Sell, wipe the dash free
of apple cores and parking receipts.
Write a pithy listing for Vehicles under $2000.
Adjectives at so-many cents a piece
scare up only tire-kickers. They don’t care
about the slight pull to the left
or the wind-shimmy on a straight stretch;
they talk mileage and rust, A to B.
Wait it out for the woman with a repair manual.
Take a couple hundred less to hand over the keys
knowing she won’t end up a junker for parts,
a love that won’t give up, just yet.
Poem from Night Gears (Wolsak and Wynn, 2010).
Bren Simmers lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she works as a park interpreter. She has a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. Winner of the Arc Poem of the Year Award and a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace Memorial Award and the Malahat Long Poem Prize, her work has been published in journals across Canada. Night Gears, her first poetry collection was published by Wolsak and Wynn in fall 2010.