So, keeping it running is their means
Of reeving memory’s diesel engine
And savoring his daring, carefree ways
When they, too, exceed sixty on route 2.
And, soon, his twin brother swaps out
The slightly worn shocks and tire rods
To try and amend for tender words left
Unsaid at the deathbed. And washing it weekly,
The parents relive his childhood baths’
Playful splashes followed, as they wax,
By those loving brushes of his forehead
Before bed. But what drops the stick shift
Of consciousness into the fifth of sooth
Are those Sunday family drives where they relive
His warm embrace in the soft upholstery
Before passing around his ice scraper
Which chips free a different memory for each
To melt in the heart’s open palms of wanting.
Yet despite their weekly moment of silence
Before the driver Wiji-boards with the wheel
To see if “Uncle Joe desires to speed to
His favorite upstate fishing hole or sweetheart’s
Home,” they note the miles of denial logged
In preserving the Dodge’s tires to the precise
32 psi…. Now they begin saying goodbyes
In not replacing the bad passenger wiper
Or by inhabiting, when the timing belt snaps,
The same paralysis they sped from when
He suddenly quit the chemo. Still, the Dodge,
Left to rot, keeps them from crossing sorrow’s
Own Double yellows when driving the dark night
Of the soul to grief’s final stage. At Sunday picnics
Their bargaining is evinced in sitting,
With hot dogs and pop, atop the hood,
And hoping that toasting his memory might
Coax him to pit row their REM sleep and say
Hello. Later, their anger is finally known
And freed in letting themselves rev the engine
In sore need of tune up and the fresh arteries
Of carburetor. And, some holidays, with
Their hearts, too, up on blocks, what a gift
To feel the dying Dodge is driving them
The last miles to the small-town exit of acceptance
As they take turns sitting alone in his driver’s seat
And weeping inconsolably onto floorboards.
Imagine, now, how they pat the dash,
Like his closed casket, and feel their loss,
Finally, settling into the ground; and imagine
The fallen rearview taken as sign that it’s time
To cease looking back; and think how they come to trust
The wisdom of rust and the Dodge, on some
Recent night, sloughing off the original exhaust pipe.

Dennis Camire is published in Mid-American Review, Poetry East, Spoon River Review, and others. In 2017 Deerbrook Editions published his full-length book, Combed by Crows. Of the collection. X. J. Kennedy says: "Dennis Camire is an up and comer… The poems engage us with their promising titles, and deliver with skill and energy."