Standard Transmission

It starts as a purr

then a hum
then a growl
then something deeper than a whine, but just as frantic

And you can feel it coming up
through the bottoms of your feet
the engine vibrating against the soles
the rattle and growl of the pistons meeting explosions
of such great force

three thousand rpm
thirty five hundred
four thousand
faster faster faster
get where you are going

until you’re aware of the vibration
of your pillowy lungs against the
casing that protects them from your
steel ribs and
the whole of your skeleton humming along
with the yowl of the machine
from the top of the steering wheel
to the gearshift cradled in the palm of your hand

Seeing your chance
you change lanes, swing to the right
then slam your left foot into the clutch
all the way to the floor

the machine




expectantly waiting





the engine sighs

you sigh.


you start the car, idling the engine warm and texting a note
“I’m done work, I’m heading home.”