C. Wade Bentley

We made it to Detroit in a green station wagon leaking
fluid from every possible orifice or coupling or flange
and pulling a U-Haul trailer with a jerry-rigged hitch
so tenuous the jerry-rigger wouldn’t put a warranty on it
beyond his parking lot. And we made it through the morning
after that Thanksgiving night when our son didn’t wake up,
when scan after scan showed dark in his brain where
there should have been light, made it through the coma
days and nights when the residents and their white-coated
pack of interns chittered and clucked, compared clipboards
then moved down the line, leaving us to watch the fluids
drip from his burr holes, stomach tubes, and IV poles.
But let’s face it—something is always leaking out or away.

Maybe the hydraulics aren’t what they once were. Could be
you have to pump the brakes or coddle the transmission
on cold mornings, even siphon gas sometimes from the Subaru
to the F-150. What is it that lets you know when it’s time
to pull the plug? When you’re spending every other weekend
with the mechanic? When you waste the whole Sunday drive
along Ponte Vedra Beach checking the gauges? Or maybe
it’s simply when the harmonics of the engine at idle,
the plain white-noise hum of the everyday resonates
at a frequency you no longer recognize. It’s like the same
code-red call you’ve heard overhead a dozen times, listened
for the crash cart to come barreling down the hallway,
only you’re pretty sure, this time, it’s coming for you.

C. Wade Bentley lives, teaches, and writes in Salt Lake City. His poems have appeared in many journals, including Best New Poets, Rattle, Cimarron Review, New Orleans Review, and Pembroke Magazine. A full-length collection, What Is Mine, was published by Aldrich Press in January of 2015. Further information about his publications and awards can be found at wadebentley.weebly.com.