MY HUSBAND WASHING HIS OLD MUSTANG

For Bruno

 

Eventually it all will turn to rust—

but still my husband fixes up the car

his father gave him, scrubs away the dust,

 

remembering the countless times they’d cussed

together underneath the hood, drank beer,

and fought against the ever-forming rust.

 

To keep the memory alive, he must

keep washing, fixing, painting, but so far

this task proves futile. Still, he scrubs the dust,

 

replaces wires, tries to stop the thrust

of seasons and of years that chew and mar

the old car’s body, turning it to rust.

 

No man can beat the ocean. He can just

watch as moisture, sand, and ocean air

turn memories and metal into dust.

 

And yet, he fights this battle with a lust

to keep this old car shining like a star.

Even though it all will turn to rust,

I grab a rag and help him scrub the dust.

 

Katherine Hoerth is the author of three poetry collections, including her most recent book, The Lost Chronicles of Slue Foot Sue (Angelina River Press, 2018). She is an assistant professor of English at Lamar University and serves as  editor in chief of Lamar University Literary Press. In 2015, she won the Helen C. Smith Prize for Goddess Wears Cowboy Boots, which was named the best book of poetry in Texas for the year by the Texas Institute of Letters. Her work has been published in Pleiades, The Georgia Review, and Atticus.

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