Metallic steeds
forged in yesteryear factories
cooled only by the sweat of laborers like Frank
whose denim work shirt pocket
bulges with cellophane wrapped Pall Malls
as he lines up to pound, fire, cut metal
into reliable chariots that carry
laborers and families

from here to there

While his wife Ethel
wraps her peroxided hair in a faded kerchief
before she pries open a can of Johnson Liquid Wax
to put the shine in her floors
and the hand-me down mahogany table
before Pops comes home from the factory
and asks the room

What’s for dinner

As Frank Junior scrubs bicycle grease
off his hands with Bon Ami powder
in the pistachio green porcelain kitchen sink
before their dinner of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti O’s
and Valley of Ho Ho Ho Green Giant beans
a flute of rosé wine for Mom
can of Hamm’s for Pops

Plus milk for Junior

Afterwards Mother sparkles the dishes with Joy
and Junior wipes and stacks white melamine plates
while Pops exhales another drag from his cig
as he announces the down payment he just made
on a brand spanking new Chevy station wagon
because Mother deserves to drive something nicer
than their beat up clunker that’s

Older than Junior

So Mother delightfully claps and Junior hoots
then she asks about the color of the new car
and Pops says sky blue like her eyes of course
and Junior asks how much horsepower
and Frank brags nearly two hundred like their old Wagoneer
that they don’t make ‘um like they used to anymore
but will be a great trade for

Their new car.

Photo of an abandoned car junk yard next to Parker Jordan Centennial Park in Englewood, Colorado, February 2015

2 thoughts on “Chariots

  1. I loved the journey here in so much detail, the green sink took me back lol. Although ours was yellow I had seen them in other homes.

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