Clay Matthews The 2River View, 9.1 (Fall 2004)
Where There’s Smoke

Hot days and I think about freon
on ice, with vodka, a twist of lime.

Like the neighbors dog who cleaned
the antifreeze off the driveway,

crawled under the house, howled,
moaned and died. That's one way

to go. Or maybe drowning in the springs
of Western Missouri, the water

I jumped in as a boy and felt my
chest fold together like a car jack.

It felt so nice to be a flat tire. It felt
like rolling to a loud and awkward

stop. Once my brother lay under
a Chrysler on a skateboard, summer,

and I thought that when I pulled
him out he’d be roasted. He always

smelled like a carburetor then,
and I think with some jumper cables

he might have started right up.
The old men are starting to overheat,

and when it’s this hot we leave
the windows down. And the thickness

grows in the cab of the truck, and
we always start her in second gear.

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