When the car worked, he drove it down the mud-notched hill
through juniper branches low-hanging the road, past dogs barking
both ways. Now the engine fine-tunes a hollow cluck, a few recitations
of minimal hope, the guttering serration of space. He listens
to those complaints. The car has sutured its green body to the white side
of the slope, where wheels lay back in multiples of sludge.
We’re not going anywhere – New Year’s Eve. He returns to the form-fitting
silence of the motor. He checks the cold compression, pulls a box
from the sparkle and scale of acid, out from trusses and joists that flip
and hook in the engine. A raven moves between branches.
An occasional sleeve of snow in a landscape ragged and absent.
I watch from the window as night keeps loosening and coming down
with its charcoal heavy body, cloud-stretched and moon-stamped,
then drag-around dark with sunset off in a corner. Dead-ahead lightning
and long shadows of winter. The ground shoulders each hour of cold.