Frances of the Cadillac
Under her tongue, there was a story.
In her mouth, nails. Frances hammered license plates
to the back wall of her garage. There
hang the years that sunk like a foot in loose soil.
That rusted like a hinge. Whose hand or what machine
etched the numbers that cruised along
in the exhaust of a town that no longer exists?
This is what happens when I check my wristwatch.
Frances drives her leather-topped Cadillac
between the electrical signals of my brain. There’s
a railroad crossing, and I don’t understand
the way she’s looking at me. Her body says something
happened. Her arms so thin, the veins visible
when she rolls up her sleeves. Still, if I were drowning
I know Frances would save me. She might throw
a string of black pearls. She might offer a broom handle,
worn from her sweeping. She’d pull me to the edge,
push pennies from my lungs. But it’s the bells
of the crossing that make me unable to breathe.