Poem – Owen Marshall

Mechanical grief


And I see you, fortuitously, in the cheapest
chicken lot in town, tucked hard against a
corrugated fence, with your bald front
tyres sponging in a wind flogged puddle.

Sullen rain has washed the many days of
road dust from your bonnet to make a sad
piping on the leading edge. Traded down
once more: ungroomed, unnoticed, ignored

you have ended up here, in desperate company
ringed with cheap, faded bunting which shoals
in the wind. A coal merchant on one side of
the lot, a bankrupt saw doctor on the other.

I bought you at an auction, such a willing slave
from the world’s other side. You carried me to
trysts, trials and tribulations. In the first
glow of possession I bathed you often: I rubbed

your flanks with turtle wax, and on summer days my
arm hung from the window to feel the wind and the
metal all at once. Now the thing that never sleeps
has your body in corrosive jaws, though the four

chambers of your heart beat as ever strongly.
At least I didn’t have to shoot you, but still
feel your stoical reproach. Worthless in any
complete form now, like the oldest wildebeest

you will be torn to pieces, and scavengers of
the wrecker’s Serengeti will snout through your
strewn, glistening entrails. And I will look away
for always the loyalty was entirely on your side.


Owen Marshall


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