oil changing 

i feed you a yellow cherry tomato
as you stand in front of your car's open skull.
wires & metal & spare jaws.
tiny sun between my fingers. 
outside, the heat of smoldering august
urges us to quicken. there is not much left
of the summer. then again, there is always
not much left of a summer.
i spend the afternoon watching you
slide under your black camaro, sliver tool
in your hand. the radio in the corner
talks like teenagers. i read a poetry book
about the end of the world 
& when i get to the end i start over.
you drain the oil into pans. little lakes
of future fire. your hair curly & beautiful.
grease on your fingers. we fight with a bolt.
rusted from miles of clenching.
i crawl underneath too. the car's belly.
almost expect to see a night sky. 
cosmos. the way that metal has watched
all our drives like one long asphalt ribbon.
i tell the bolt, "i understand how it feels
to hold onto the old parts of yourself."
but, then, i resurface & report my failure.
i eat cherry tomatoes, standing vigil as you work.
admire how you keep all your rings on
even as you coax the vehicle apart. 
then, cannot help but feel like the car is an animal.
your hand on the hood. on the walls
of your dad's garage, families of tools.
hammers & funnels & screws. rags black 
with oil. i kiss your warm cheek. 
you say, "i'm almost done." soon we'll ride
through the mountain's shoulder blades.
on the ride i'll tell you 
a story about when i was a girl
& you'll point out the cloud-bearing sky. 
i wipe a smudge of grease from my hand.
inspect the creases of each finger.

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