I’m not sure how the upholstery caught fire.
How the match left my hand to prick
the gasolined seats. How the inside of the car
made a hellish greenhouse in the frozen morning.
I know: to get to the radio, someone smashed the window.
To get in the trunk, they drove a truck into it.
Seeing my car only half destroyed, I thought about Roy,
how he mooned me on the playground at lunch.
His whole ass wiggling over my cheese sandwich.
I was spellbound. The same spell
turns snowflakes to dandruff on the shoulders
of statue generals on Monument Avenue.
It’s a spell of evenness. And it turned my money into my radio into
his radio into his money.
There was glass like baby teeth, if baby teeth were clear,
around my car that morning. Decay where the radio was
that had been there when the radio was. Already little icicles
held fast to my rearview mirror. Just another marquee for their beauty.
This had been done to my car, but nothing was done.
So somehow, a gas can tipped forward,
bowing before its performance. And I remember now.
I threw a match on it. Burning out from the inside
this uncomfortable injustice. A fire to make heat
for hands around a bat beating a windshield at 4am.
Heat for the pawnshop. Heat for our next car. Heat
to melt our fingerprints. Heat to make it even.
Sommer Browning writes poems and draws comix in Brooklyn, New York. Her poems can or will soon be found at spork, The New York Quarterly, Forklift, Ohio, word for/word and elsewhere. Visit her comix at Asthma Chronicles and, if you’re ever in Brooklyn, the poetry reading series she hosts at Pete’s Candy Store.