Monday, August 17, 2015

VW Microbus, Burning

artwork: ralph murre

VW Microbus, Burning
by John Sierpinski

We are (my wife and little girl)
at the auto repair garage, again. 
It’s Monday afternoon, and they
want another four hundred bucks
that we can ill afford.  “If we need
to…” I finally say.  “We just have

to do it,” she says.  Our daughter
has found a purple thistle sticking
up through the asphalt lot where
other broken-down cars sit.  She
touches it with her index finger.
She makes a face like the sad

mask, sniffs, but doesn’t cry.  Then
she finds a pebble.  Last night,
our battery had shorted out in West
Hollywood.  Believe it or not,
the entire rear engine compartment
became engulfed in flames.  After

I got my wife and daughter out of
the bus, I ran over to a liquor store
for water.  The owner looked
at me, skeptically, then said he
had none.  Aw, come on, I thought,
then once more outside, I snatched

his rain bucket and doused bright
orange flames.  Do you believe
he had followed me outside, grabbed
his white bucket and said, “All you
damn hippies are alike.”  The flames
had gone out, but of course the bus

wouldn’t run.  I hatched a plan.  “Push,
Honey, and I’ll walk and steer.”  My
wife had on very tight shorts.  After
a few feet, a man in a white jacket
showed up and gave us a push with
his car.  That was last night.  Now,

we’re back again.  The garage
abuts the chain link fence
to the Santa Monica Freeway,
I-10.  I can smell the acrid odor                                                           
of car exhaust.  It burns my eyes.
The noise is near deafening. 

My daughter’s soft, round face
looks through the fence.  We’re
forced to spend the money, and
get back into the insanity of the
non-stop freeway.

~ first published in Into the Teeth of the Wind