What Isn’t True, But You Want to Be

By Katie Chicquette Adams

I find it both fascinating and absurd that I can think, I love this old car,
can thank its cargo hold coated with dog hair and a strange bit of magic

which stretches it just enough to enclose nearly anything:
it has hauled long lumber cuts, awkward chairs, and raucous dogs,

beloved oversized belongings from one home to another.
I can tell the newer model’s shape would have me renting a truck

more often. It lacks a smooth ride but impresses me:
it’s almost 20–I feel like you can say that about a seventeen-year-old

car, that you can round up, gloss over what isn’t true but you want to be.
Rust grows over the wheel wells like industrial moss.

The “check engine” and “maint req’d” lights take turns popping on,
one a jagged rune, the other a delicately abbreviated invitation,

both glowing orange, the color that says, it’s not the end,
but there’s a problem
.

I have a habit of staying in love with old things
even when the orange warning lights flicker on

which is both a testament to my loyalty,
and a comment on my tendency toward misplaced loyalty,

(which is a nicer way of saying how often I fail to take apart
things which are breaking, to scuttle a hull that won’t hold).

So often people say, I was secretly happy that it died–
I was itching for a new one!

Is anyone immune to this feeling?
A coworker, your lover, God?

We are all just navigating the roads from here to there,
thin black and grey ribbons of pavement or pain

demarcating the tension between hanging on a little longer,
squeaking out a few more miles, and scrapping it all to start again.


Katie is an educator and writer in Appleton, WI. Her work has most recently appeared in First Review East, Bramble, Wallopzine, and Spadina Literary Review. She is a live storyteller and emcee with Storycatchers, Inc. and works as an English teacher for at-risk young adults at a public alternative high school, with hopes they will remake their own stories, and become friendly with at least one poem.


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