A Widow Discovers Her Tires Are Bald
When the “Check Engine” Light Comes On

Just days before he slipped off, he asked
if I had the loose piece of side chrome attached,
the oil changed, he didn’t want his car falling apart,
never mind me, the unmechanical one, who rode this life
alongside him, each with our own separate tasks
and now they’re all mine. I think the car might need oil
again, like I could use, some zip, but can’t figure out
where the hood latch is. On my knees, I squeeze my head
under the driving wheel panel, such a mystery of gadgets,
so many mysteries to solve to keep things running in his loss.
No latch to be found I sit back on my heels,
then notice the tires are almost bald,
something like my hair coming out in clumps these months,
and wonder how that happened overnight. I barely
go anywhere while he just up and vanishes—
with no directions. Maybe he’s been traveling
while I sleep, letting the good times roll.

(c) Perie Longo 
Rattle, Summer, 2003 and Baggage Claim, 2014


Perie Longo
Looking for Jamal

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