The Unfixables:  Dad and His Red Corvair

Janet Reed

His lady, a red kiss along the white teeth 
of bucket seats, sat as dad did on Sundays

in the shelter of a steeple, the car sun-kissed
spotless inside its painted blacktopped lines, he,

white shirt starched stiff as his pew, Black Book 
spread across his legs, asking for all that eluded him.

My dad loved that beauty the way I wanted
him to love us, the way I now wish he’d loved 

himself, more than a stuttering engine
that fell from grace faster than penitents

at a tent meeting after the singing.  His was
an engine in crisis; parts parted and prayed over,

oily fingers smudged the pages of his motor manual 
as rods and pistons grappled for attention,

their stoplight coughs of blue exhaust filming
the sheen of that red baby, stains he washed away

before church each week when wrist deep
in Turtle Wax, he made its soiled skin shimmer

like scarlet sin in a Sunday hymn, asking only
Who Will Pray for Me, Fallen Angel?


Janet Reed is a 2017 and 2016 Pushcart Prize nominee.  Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Nassau Review, Chiron Review, Common Ground Review, Tipton Poetry Journal, I-70 Review, and others.  She is at work on her first collection and teaches writing and literature for Crowder College in Missouri.

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