For Tuco


Back, way back, before the birth of Henry Ford, we’d surf across rivers on the backs of crocodiles.
“Avoid the mouth and you’ll be fine. No smoke signals ‘til you reach dry land.”
We rode dinosaurs to and from the quarry with our dirt-faced children lined up down the tail like baby opossums.
“As long as you keep him fed, he won’t eat any of them.”
Prometheus captured fire, and we shackled it and bid it pull our chariots. We trust you.

“Here are the keys to his cuffs, son. We trust you, because an underpaid basketball coach showed you how to do this for three weekends in a row,
but you’re not allowed to smoke for two more years!”
Kids. Children, so cold sweat eager to do it drunk and tired and loaded and spun,
Half awake and half aware in these little churches and therapist’s offices on wheels, over ice,
Texting their friends, “MSG: GUYS DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE,
To “The Life of Pablo” up so loud you can’t hear the sirens or the horns or the squealing
Or the 17 year old mother screaming, “MY BABY, MY BABY! WHERE IS HE!?”
Her face, in the moment of panic, frozen forever in a makeup Picasso across
The smoking canvas of her deflating airbag.
All for some melty, gooey, cheesy, crunchy fourthmeal.
Spread across a hundred feet of asphalt like strawberry jam on toast
To show the world what they’re really made of.

Glass and razor steel full of gasoline and your squishy little brand new baby.
All tears and pink wrinkles, riding an explosion machine piloted nervously by the husband you’re pretty sure cheated on you with your friend Sarah, and who keeps breaking the lawnmower because he swears it can “chew up those fallen limbs.”
We do it until we can’t read the signs. Until we can’t see at night.
Until we can’t even remember where we were going.
Until we never get there.
One quick jerk to the left and you can slap a fat THE END in the middle of the page,
mid-sentence, if you like.
“It’s always the husband,” say the cops, but you turn your back to him every night because
It only happens to other people.
“You can’t put a value on human life…”
“Studies show that lower speed limits save lives…”
But Sammy can’t drive fifty-five.

I walk around my car and touch him gently with my fingertips.
I pick rocks from his tires and trace his scratches and slap his bumper,
“Tuco,” I call him, named after Eli Wallach’s character,
“We’re in this together, buddy.”
And I feel lucky to share such an intimate relationship
With the monster that will very likely end me.

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