The Innisfree Poetry Journal
by Naomi Thiers
For my grandfather, Curly Thiers
buddy Rex had a dinged-up Model AA.
We bumped down anything passed for a road
through Nebraska, by old Pawnee places, 'bout
as far as Denver, taking turns sleeping
in her cab and under newspaper in the bed.
We was pulling to make Salt Lake City by winter
where Rex had a set-up in a copper mine,
but the traveling and eating were hard: few
farmers taking men on, roads fulla
drifters and runaways like us. We had
a winch on that old truck, and she was strong.
We could scare up $5 towing Buicks and Bearcats
stuck in the mud or broke down, but
a week might pass between sightings. Damn
little fruit under the trees by November. The gravy
came when we teamed up with Dwight and Margo,
who found our campfire one night
with a bottle and a Model T runnin' on spit.
I looked at Margo's red hair and curvy legs,
thought about them back roads and saw
instantly how we could prosper. Margo parked
just ahead of a muddy patch, lifted her hood
and stood about looking helpless (Dwight
behind a bush) till a gent pulled over
and got stuck in mud to the running board.
Dwight would stroll up to "help," then—
Looky here!—a truck with a winch drives by.
Sure, we'll pull you out mister. Five dollars.
Soon we were eating roast chicken and potatoes
every night by a bonfire. New blankets.
That Margo, she was smart, not just pretty.
She taught me some new words. Canny, she'd say,
inventive, that's what you are, Curly. You'll never
haul the load of bricks my Dwight could
but you look sharp and use your head and, sure,
You'll always find the fruit.
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