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Junkyard Love Elegy

by Derk Olthof


Chipped green glass paves oil soaked paths between the
walls of multihued abandon—metal
flesh stacked on cinderblocks, our bodies obscenely
displayed according to their years of waste. Tangential
chariots, a hundred horses in our mouths,
each horse kneels, bleeding black from broken legs.
Shot—our carcasses were hooked and drawn out
of black stone rivers to a razor-fenced lot. The dregs
of potholes—our rust and rot. Purple membranes
of gasoline cling to puddles like cataracts
reflecting rancid rainbows. And our names?
Would you believe we were called Cadillacs?
Now, here we lie in the dross of junkyard lanes
while dirty hands extract what wholeness remains.


Those dirty hands once had the touch to turn
us anywhere they would. To the unending ends
of their Lethean rivers. Now we yearn
to tread their sunken granite walls again.
But broken is forgotten. Drive on drive
on we drove moving men to their dreams,
but finding only mutual demise.
There is no rest. Men are strange machines,
and unlike us, they drive even when broken.
And within the scrap heaps of their glass dark
towers, they lift their shame, like us, holding open
their hoods while filthy hands search the inner parts
for something to replace what is missing inside.
And somehow end the constant need to drive.

Derk Olthof was born in Palo Alto, California and raised in St. George, Utah. He is a first-year MFA student in poetry and an independent singer-songwriter. His first album, The Price of Wings, was released in May 2008.