1969 Chevrolet Impala
were the colors
of sunrise reflected
through a shot of bourbon.
Four doors attached in Lordstown
each large enough to table
a Slovenian style thanksgiving dinner.
350 cubic inch engine,
textured vinyl roof,
3,750 pounds idling at the curb.
Destroyer of shopping carts and mailboxes,
leaper of train tracks,
drive-in theater trunk smuggler,
drive through prank accomplice,
you were my first car,
handed down from my grandfather.
You already knew how to keep secrets.
Grandma taught you
how to keep your hood shut
while the old man
drank his boilermakers
swiveling on a barstool
at the Croatian Fraternal Home.
She’d sneak her secret key
into your steering column ignition
then she and her girlfriends,
clear plastic babushkas
protecting their curled hair from
come what may,
would drive downtown.
They’d park you near Halle’s Department Store
and then commence in doing
god-knows-what for hours.
Later she’d slide you
back into the lot
like the candy bar the old man would slip her
when his drunken conscience told him he was coming home
a little too late,
swearing as he handed over his penance
that somebody was syphoning his gas.
~ michael salinger