January 1998 / Volume One / Issue One
Alice Cone
Firebird

She imagines he conceived her underground,
in some parking garage, maybe,
where he was necking with some girl.
No, he was asleep, crashed underneath
the Firebird, in a puddle of grease and oil
because he was tired of monkeying around,
pretending to make a go of it, as if he knew
a single thing about wrenches and pipes
besides what he felt with every twist
of the bolt and how the built-up fumes
have to be exhausted.

He was dreaming of the heat of the engine,
which was so close to his nose he could hear
the humming in his brain, and he knew it was time
to start the process, that he couldn't procrastinate
a minute longer, that he'd done enough pacing
through the house, that the dishes were clean,
the coffee perked, so now he had to sit
at the desk and begin the work.

It didn't take any time at all; before he knew it
he was masturbating again, calling up
every germ he knew; the words were assembling
on the page, and there he was in the wet dream,
underneath the car; that's where she
came into it, into the puddle of color-streaked oil;
there was the splash, the spark, the ignition; she erupted,
full-blown, through the floorboards, and he was driving
her away, winding up the exit ramps; they were flying
out of the dark, toward the cervix of the earth,
flames shooting out of the manifold,
the generator ablaze.
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