My toddler grandson squats beside a parked
car to examine the wheels and undercarriage.
I know more about cars than he does
(temporarily) , so I tell him what an axle is.
“Brmm…..brmm…, ” he replies. He gets it.
Satisfied, he stands up and points to the door handle.
He wants me to open the door, but it’s not my car.
“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that, ” I say.
My grandson’s name is not Dave, but I’m bored
so I’m doing my impression of HAL 9000 when
Dave says, “Open the pod bay doors please HAL”
and HAL answers, “I’m sorry Dave……….”
We walk home. We watch cars go by.
Wheels spin so fast, it’s like trying to watch the
legs of a galloping animal without the benefit
of slow motion replay. My grandson knows that
herds of cars follow well-established trails. He
can pick out several species of car already:
If only his Dad wasn’t irreversibly civilized, my
grandson might have someday learnt to hunt cars:
Prowl the fringes of the herd, pick out the old and lame,
distract the car by throwing rocks and attack its most
vulnerable part, the soft rubber feet. Or, separate the
babies - the bicycles. They’re all legs and no muscle.
Maybe join a band of boys to tackle a bus
or truck for the manhood initiation rite.
Afterwards, all the men could put on car skins
and pretend to be the cars themselves.
Diane Hine's Other Poems
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