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Mary Christine Delea

For Those Who Drive on Bad Tires

I believe in the power of rubber and air pressure,
metal and plastic and paint working
together to force two tons to go

and I know when I see you—a bit wobbly or skewed,
shaky or bald, bumpy or stiff—that
there are other things

to believe in, like luck, fate, and the goodness of
credit cards on a snowy afternoon
in the Maryland mountains,

when the clutch goes. I believe my gut when I feel
something not exactly wrong, but not right,
not a noise, but a movement

underneath, a bit too fast or too slow, or something I hear
when on back roads, town streets and interstates
a swish, a sudden loud noise,

the possibility of a sharp turn onto the median or the shoulder
and the inevitable head scratching
awe and wonder. I believe

I’ll have what you have, you on those bad tires, on the black ice
in North Dakota, in the Oregon casino
parking lot, on the ramp

leaving the Long Island shopping mall; yes,
I think I will wait for disaster rather than
settle for comfort and safety.

I will tempt fate, count on my luck and cross fingers,
and we will all live on a little more faith
and a little less air.


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