Used Cars • Eric Erickson

You’re looking at the Edsel, I see,
a real classic, that one.
Original paint, believe it or not, garaged
up near Elk Lake for close to fifty years.
My grandma drove her first car,
a Ford, I think, right through the window
of a florist on Second Ave so Grandpa spent more
than he could afford on that Edsel,

but, she never got the nerve to drive again,
but, If you heard the engine, believe me,
you’d think it was a big purring cat -
five on the column, V8, a couple
clean tires but the radiator leaks.
How ‘bout I show you one of our more practical models?
I specialize in trade-ins, clean title or no,
Ah, that there’s my parents’ ’62 Olds - the first
car I ever drove, look at it, rumble seats,
helluva good stereo - Me and Phyllis used
to drive it down Central Avenue
on Friday nights, park in back
of the West Side Lanes
and smoke joints

Ah, but this one –
Aunt Thelma’s Corvair.
You should really sit
behind the wheel of this one
I can’t let you drive it though,
no carburetor - not for sale -
drove it to Nevada with Hank,
before he OD’d on the mescaline
he bought in New Mexico.
Drove it back to St. Paul alone,

some of these older cars ain’t much to look at, but
I have some newer models, too,
not so many miles.
Cousin Pamela’s Wrangler is around back,
a ’78 Rolls Royce that I just got in,
a piece of junk, but it’s a Rolls Royce,
for chrissakes.

Ah hell, I know Uncle Mel only bought American.
His pop worked in Detroit, making door handles
and locks,
good old pick-able locks,
but look at this LTD, this is the one
Aunt Thelma’s half-sister Marie drove
into the ground, rebuilt it with Honda parts -
door handles and all.

Let me show you just a couple more:
There, against the fence, next to the ’65 Impala,
that Grenada, it doesn’t look like much,
but It’s a dream to drive.
I also have matching Pontiac soft-tops:
black with a white top, and white with a black top.
I’d take ‘em home if I could park ‘em safe
in front of my apartment down Grand Avenue,
above the barbershop that sells methamphetamines
and kiddie porn. That Grenada through,
that’s an engine you want to stretch

out – up there, on Hillside Drive at sunset
where the stars just explode in the rearview.


Erickson has published poetry in Plainsongs and
The Curbside Review, and his fiction has appeared
in Penmen Review, Curbside Splendor, and Cigale
Literary Magazine. He recently earned an MA in
English and Creative Writing and is currently
in the process of completing his first novel.