“Like I was suddenly some safer form of fire”
-Ada Limon

Parallel Mustangs revving at an intersection
Back and forth
Like a conversation

Between Neanderthals listing their kills
Around a campfire
in competition over the same mate.

Rrrrrrrrrrrr  bison.
Rrrrrrrrrrrr mammoth.
Rrrrrrrrrrrrr saber tooth cat.

Even the moon is moved
To eavesdrop; she lingers, curling a ringlet
Of clouds around a finger
With a blush of coyness to her smile

Above these traffic lights glowing like the last embers
On a log in the fire.

One must appreciate these moments
When the decisions you’ve made
Seem perfectly adequate …

This modest front-wheel-drive Honda
Paid-off and broking-in
Pulled by a four-cylinder mule

Sowing the field of fiscal responsibility

Just listen to how each Mustang
Exaggerating its importance

In shimmies and full-bodied shudders, in growls and grunts,
Needles jumping into red—

The red of energy, the red of arousal, the red of envy—

This tangible yearning for the license of a green light
To coerce tires from their comfortable beds;

To sneak out on a school day;  
To feed furniture into the fireplace;
To spin and smoke;

To feel the adrenaline boost
Drifting past the limits of control
Into a stranger’s lane


Photo by Joel Filipe on Unsplash

Martin Arnold

Martin Arnold's work has been published in many fine journals including Crazyhorse, the Carolina Review, Denver Quarterly, and Best New Poets 2012. His first chapbook, A Million Distant Glittering Catastrophes, won the 2009-2010 Pavement Saw Chapbook Award. Earthquake Owner’s Manual won the 2013 Unicorn Press First Book Award. His latest chapbook, Promiscuous Beauty, was published in November with Finishing Line Press.