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Spring/Summer 1998, Volume 15.2



Cindi J. Harrison

Cindi J. Harrison (MA, New Mexico State U) has published book reviews in
Puerto del Sol and is an instructor at New Mexico State University.


Growing Cold

for John

My hands are smaller than yours 
and I can reach inside 
between the engine 
and its filter hose 
to change the glow plugs. 
You wish you could do it, 
asking me, "what the hell's a glow plug?" 
I tell you, calmly, 
"it warms the fuel 
before it gets to the engine," 
but I'm thinking, 
it does more for this car than 
you ever did for me.

You are helpless when 
it comes to cars, 
helpless when hearing 
a woman's voice singing 
behind the wheel. You sit quietly, 
hands in your lap, 
bite your lip, wish at least 
I'd let you drive.

With dog in tow, 
we make it all the way to Matagorda, 
small fishing town, 
so different from 
the orange-skied city 
we just left. You're surprised 
my car made it. 
I remind you, "I 
was the one who fixed it, 
But I don't mean 
to be cruel. Not really.

I play on the beach; 
you swim out so far
I hardly see you. 
We are where the sun 
to safety before we become 
clam-like. I am already clam-like

I decide I'll sleep in the car, 
and fitfully, I do. You 
swim again into the tide. 
In the morning, I pick up 
Venus clams and watch 
as they burrow. I'm tired, 
the dog wants to go home.

My car is covered now 
in sand and salt, 
though still functional. 
I check the oil 
before we go and put water 
in the cooler. You are agitated— 
I'm under the hood again. 
You are behind the glove compartment, 
waiting, staring 
at the white hood of the car. 
The dog jumps in before me, 
and I put the key 
in the ignition, 
turn it to auxiliary. 
You want to know why 
we are just sitting here, 
why not start the car? 
I explain we are waiting 
for the glow plug light to go off. 
You say, "oh, that," 
and I wonder what you could 
possibly have against glow plugs.

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