Buying a Truck

His stepson Jeff's car is dying.
Not one of those sudden, rollover, 
4 wheels in the air kind of death.
A slow one with remissions and relapses,
Dragged out with repairs, quarts of oil,
Not quite to the wire and duct tape stage,
But fading and being jerked back to life
Only to slide back and to set there idling,
Or refusing to idle,
Going from clunking noise to weird smell, to blue smoke.
Getting revived by screwdriver or ohmmeter,
Then back to being unfaithful,
Hanging around  in the driveway,
Still there. But no spark.

So Jeff needs a "new" car, something reliable,
Low-mileage, but cheap. Has to be cheap. 
It's 20 miles to work, country roads and city streets,
Summer and winter in Wisconsin.
He wants to haul garbage in, firewood out.
This time a pickup truck.

Toyotas are good.  Hard to find.
The step-father fires up his laptop, spends hours on E-Bay.
Finds a few, always some good reason not to buy.
He makes the rounds of local lots with Jeff's mother.  
Shopping together is fun.
He is an exceptional husband, likes to shop.

He loves his wife and all four of her shaggy sons,
So unlike his own two, noisier, looser.
If he finds that truck for Jeff, 
The next time he sees it, it will have nicks and scratches 
And be full of road dust, not to mention candy wrappers and soda cans.

His son Chris drives a sleek black Chevy.
It always shines.
But Chris doesn't need anything from him.
Jeff does.

—Ester Prudlo, Fitchburg, WI