Up on its side in a winter ditch,
the car huffed and hissed,
undercarriage steaming, a beast
on display, like a beached whale
groaning, sipping breath
from a dried spout. An odd sight,
the parts you trust but never see,
as though those pistons and valves
were a cross section of the human heart
spread open as it beat,
the exposed inner workings
of chemistry and fluid,
the craft of mechanics and surgeons.
We pushed it back on its wheels,
my friends and I, heard the hot belly cool
as it hit the snow, my own chest
sparked back to motion
from a breath unknowingly held,
no turn of a key to restart the flow of oxygen,
no sutured stemming of blood.
There was a comfort in watching those mechanisms
disappear beneath the frame, the unknown
returned to its concealed sanctuary,
far from the possibility of its decay.
In a warm nook of the Snowy North
November 18, 2014
"The Wreck of HMS Anson"
Acrylic on Paper - 1966
Clive Arthur Carter