Our 23rd installment is Brent Raycroft’s “Glendette,” a reflection on the sedimentary nature of used vehicles and previous owners. Raycroft suggests that seemingly inanimate cars impart their histories in material ways, thus keeping traces of the past alive through us.
From what we were told we’re the third or fourth owners
of this heavy appendix to car transportation.
I’ve got the original road registration:
a worn paper slip
for a sixteen-foot, one-axle ’65 Glendale Glendette.
We might make it road worthy, go for a trip.
But it looks pretty good where it is.
It will be a retreat, a bunky for guests
with sunshine for heat and shade for A/C.
We’ll escape to right here in the Glendale Glendette.
The flooring, the wiring, the big double mattress
the dining-nook cushions are new.
Not so the twenty-four Robertson screws
in the long metal hinge
that lets down the foldaway bed in the Glendale Glendette.
When crumbs of old foam tumbled out of the slash
that I scratched in the tough aqua fabric
I felt some regret at deciding to get
the last of the mid-sixties bedding
out of the Glendale Glendette.
Once I’d exposed it, the plywood support showed
a nebulous oval, a torso-sized smudge of hybridized dust
that scraped off drily
and departed quietly
the now somewhat lighter Glendale Glendette.
Even with all the small windows cranked open
the heat of the day was intense
and a grit in the air
adhered to my brow and my cheek and my lip
as I worked on the Glendale Glendette.
Were you the first to sit at this table
or settle yourself into one of the beds
or to think in the morning: where will I be
when I open that narrow aluminum
door and step out of the Glendale Glendette?
Maybe you’re dead, you who first lay your head here,
and maybe it’s all been forgotten.
But you’re not quite gone yet
if mixed in with mine I have tasted the sweat
that you left in the ’65 Glendale Glendette.
Brent Raycroft’s poetry has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including the Walrus, Queen’s Quarterly, and The Best of the Best Canadian Poetry: 10th Anniversary Edition. He lives north of Kingston Ontario with his family. The Glendale Glendette sits in the yard and serves as a small but quiet writing studio.