And then that summer my boyfriend gave me a car.
This was amazing as I was not that kind of girl
boys made grand gestures toward, my boyfriends
were the kind of morons who liked
Dave hung his arm over my shoulder—
his stiff Swedish version of a hug—& laid me up
against the last elm on the block that hadn't succumbed to disease.
"My Mustang," he said.
"Yeah," I said.
"I'm getting a Firebird," he said.
My other boyfriend Ken had a black Firebird.
We cruised up Main & down Dakota
for rubbery burgers at Teddy the Greek's drive-in
or to sneak in to the Dew Drop Inn.
"You can have the Mustang," Dave said.
"OK, cool," I said.
My parents would kill me so I figured he didn't mean it.
I called my friend Debbie whose dad let me park it
in their field where nothing but horseradish grew
till I thought to tell my folks
Dave was letting me drive it
that one last summer before we blasted off to college
or the army or the moronic jobs
my boyfriends would have for the rest of their lives.
Gas was 20¢ a gallon
a dollar's worth could gallop us halfway across the prairie,
a nighttime ride to wherever we weren't supposed to go.
Alas the hidden treacheries—the shocks, the sparks,
the struts & timing I was heir to, what Dave wanted.
I'd forgotten all about this poem until I looked again at Ladies, Start Your Engines because we were watching a car race movie & I was filled with car lust. It's the kind of poem I used to write, I guess.