And the Needles Leapt Up

the sputtering of the engine
kicked my ribs with a thump
and leaves my lungs flattened,
tattered, draped over my bones.

the exhaust—S.O.S. signals from
Central Station and the Crysler Building—
jetted from the rear of your father’s Buick
through the evergreen bushes;

and the needles leapt up
on their sturdy sappy branches,
inhaling the putrid smog
from the tailpipe.

the breeze was peculiar:
it lifted up the needles and kissed them
then made the gaseous concoction
taper down my throat

where it made me choke.
my only breath swiped from me
like that kick of the ignition
from the Buick.

i guess it’s sometimes harder
to watch a car drive away
than to be in that car
where you cannot see

the hastened bellows of one’s chest
from the rear windshield
and how, so softly,
the needles leapt up.

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