Burned and rusted to a turn,
the Studebaker has relaxed
into the forest. Birch saplings thread
through the punched-out windows.
Wasps have woven a nest in the springs
of the roasted upholstery.
The bakelite steering wheel has cracked
in an attractive snakeskin pattern.
The hood yawns with boredom. Beneath,
only the engine block remains,
an iron tombstone. Every part,
every wire, tube, or device,
carburetor, generator, vacuum,
fuel, and water pumps, long gone.
Posing you draped on this wreck
I revel in the contrast
and hope my photographs expose
the essence of both your wintry
post-Slavic grin and the grimace
of this fifty-year-old sedan.
You’re enjoying this notion
of art as devolution—
this vehicle having exhausted
its utility now embracing
the role of public sculpture.
But you too could achieve
the stasis of art, your dental work
perfected, your scruff of hair tinted
a lovely Halloween orange.
The light whispering through leaf-fall
and sudsing of the river flatter
your sleek, uncompromised figure;
and as you lean into the photo
you eclipse the morbid old car
and warp the space-time continuum,
rendering the past moot and the point
of light puckered in the camera
inexorable as a kiss.