Carburetor, clutch, hub, window guide, crank
pulley roused me before I knew the other words
of womanhood: snake, bend, flood stop, drop elbow
universal flapper, male and female fittings.
Coming back from the feed lot,
Dad stopped quick for the hippy van,
bread truck, whatever it had been.
We painted it primer black for a mural.
I tossed a mattress in back for a home
on the way to quest. Nothing turns out
how you plan. I should’ve learned body
repair, how to press the smash out of a door,
how to fire glass back to a pane, how loving
sometimes calls you out of your dreams,
how it follows you, even into the prairie grass
bent in November’s sullen winds.
~ Laura Lee Washburn
Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize). Her poetry has appeared in such journals as Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review. Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri. She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky.
Al Ortolani’s poetry and reviews have appeared in journals such as Prairie Schooner, New Letters, Word Riot, and the New York Quarterly. His fifth collection of poems, Waving Mustard in Surrender, was released in 2014 from New York Quarterly Books. Currently, he is teaching English in the Blue Valley School District and serves on the Board of Directors of the Kansas City Writers Place.