Last Ride in a Convertible

This ghost-gray backseat is warm; with the top
down, I’m lying in sunlight. Troughs of shadow

slowly fill with that light. The car ride is a biscuit.
And now My Driver is reaching between the seats
to pat the furred crown of my head. A season ago,

I prized snowdrifts in denuded Iowa neighborhoods.
Worshipped the Yet to Come like gift-bites of steak.

These days My Driver sleeps downstairs on a couch
so he can find shoes and shepherd me into the dim.
His dawn-voice is a dish of ice cream all my own.

Lowering myself onto grass to water it yet again
is a sweep of misery I’m used to. This morning,

I couldn’t stand. Forelegs were willing but unable
then not even willing. The stuffed bear is with me.
I smell him, the bear. A blanket I was lifted from.

In the car like this, air is a bruising tenderness.
Regardless, I’m my animal body. I’m what fails

after trying. Now I’m cradled. Placed on a table.
Around me, eyes are stones then stones that weep.
For a little while I was in the grief-long moment—

big-pawed, a tongue papery with thirst, squinting
to see who was keeping me so long in the world

Roy Bentley About Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is the author of Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama Press), Any One Man (Bottom Dog Books), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press). A new book, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, has been selected by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and will be publlshed in the spring of 2018 by the University of Arkansas Press. Work from that collection has appeared in Shenandoah, Pleiades, Rattle, Blackbird, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.

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