The nation witnessed your creation on Route 66,
a synthetic sculpture of fumes, fire and chrome
circled by flashing lights and clamoring spectators
that roped off your work with yellow stanchion tape
so taken by the spectacle they shooed all else away.
They found you at work like a captain on deck,
your arm slung over a wheel, blood stippling the concrete,
back erect and proud face cleaved in two
as your body melded with your pièce de résistance
the final masterpiece encompassing street and skin.
They pried you from your cage and scraped it to the curb
scrubbed the black canvas you painted with red,
took apart the exhibit, leaving only the placard,
“55 MPH,” charred and bent permanently in a bow,
a nod from a witness to the one night show.
This poem is included in The Sophomore Year Experience poetry compilation.
This poem won the Richard Scott Handley Memorial Award for Poetry in Pasadena City College’s Inscape Literary magazine.