Vintage NASCAR photo.


By Mark Abraham · Oct 08, 2012

Started soft with a too-muted plunk,
a perfect dive into warm water.
This structure was meant to be cloven.

Only six seconds from cockpit to asphalt,
lips clenched, wet with race sweat,
gloves finally smelling like the leather they are.
Oil, smoke, dark pink noise, rattled skeletons, bites of tar—
I had a clarifying thought:

So far my tongue has proven nothing,
but NASCAR should be called “HASCAR”—
then it would be pun, pertinent, pretty.
Also, an anagram:

Earlier that morning, folded paper—
this paper was white, a soft white,
and this pencil had scratched hard into the service—
I had doodled crashed cars.
I had done this. I had made my skin hard. Solid.

We pave our roads for disaster,
each white line just the chalk around a rough area
where the bodies will be found.

Later they will question me.
Later the other drivers will grumble.
This isn’t my desires on trial.
As if they had the right.
As if I were asphalt for them to press.
As if I hadn’t already stolen some of their pain.

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