Poem | Vic's Auto Glass,

 

For Rachel

a crummy place
downhill by the railroad bridge
above Arts, Painting, and Music
where Franklin meets Abundance
before it cloverleaves into Treasure
in a continuous derelict suburbia.
A place of hurt and waiting, shards and splinters,
Auto glass repairs,
Vic, grumpy and grouchy,
tells customers to shut up in his Italian accent.
John Wayne stands tall on the John’s door
and behind the counter Marilyn in a Seven Year Itch poster.
Technology: an old radio, a swiveling Scully chair
and a greasy phone Vic punches numbers on,
Mater dolorosa nailed on the wall,
year after year of church calendars
and Our Lady of Guadeloupe in multiple images,
her almond silhouette refracted through a hanging mirror.
A place of shattered glass punched out of their frames,
stripped off and replaced—
plain or tint privacy, Securit or High Impact Extra,
Vic thumbs through catalogs, punches more numbers,
and in a gravely Sicilian accent spills out quotes the speed of a ticker
the customer tries to catch like juggling balls.
He knows how glass breaks, pulling the veil of a windshield,
stones of anger hitting rear windows, Glock’s neat hole of a near miss,
bad luck of road gravels and ricochets spitting out web shatter,
love and hatred on back seats, the redemption of light, the mere venial turned mortal,
what holds a piece of glass, what it magnifies and hides,
life to a binary choice it repeats: clear or privacy,
butts squashed over the garage like pin points in nicotine over oil rainbows,
a man rescued from his own cold war
a life spent between Wayne, his employee, and Jesus, limbs long over the patibulum of the door.

Published in the October 6, 2017 issue: 
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Born in France, Jean-Mark Sens has lived in the American South for more than twenty years. He taught in a start-up culinary program at Mississippi University for Women and lives in New Orleans where he works with the Goldring Centre for Culinary Medicine. His work has been published in the United States and Canada, and is the author of the collection Appetite (Red Hen Press). He is also working on a culinary book Leafy Greens & Sundry Things.

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