16. Willow’s Car

“Here comes his Ford!”
James yelled. Up the road,
A black shining Lizzie, pluming
Dust. Headlamps silver-rimmed,
Perched like spectacles,
A teacherly, vague stare.
Wheels, a little knock-kneed,
Grinding noise.
Stylish running board
Gleamed in the sun.

New car! They ran out.
Thomas called, “Well,
Willow.” Motor running,
Willow leaned to them:
“See, there’s wider bumpers
This year–that protects
The tire, solid, too.
See, new shape in front,
Air flows better, that’s for
Speed. Wide chrome, you ain’t
Seen that in a Ford. Lord!
Listen, such an engine!
Riah! Why, the gears inside
Mesh close as your ma’s old
Tune-box, recall?
No bumps hardly.
Not a hitch, or pull.
I turn the keys–
Sure, touch the hood!–
Like a bird’s heart beating,
Whirs so soft.
Never stops.
Hear it? Thought you’d like to.
Well, I’m off.”
He steered in a circle,
Careful on the grass,
And drove away.

They stood, silent, in the yard.
Frowning, Riah said,
“Run on, now, James.”
Tom sighed: Riah
Rarely disapproved, but
When she did….
Willow was not rich.
What that truck meant,
Riah clearly knew.
It meant a move.

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