Matt Cook

My Wife's Car

I was out for a walk one afternoon
When I saw my wife’s car parked across from the film department.
You feel a kind of existential panic when you see your wife’s car parked somewhere.
My grandfather said death is like looking at your house from across the street.
It’s probably something like that.

You walk past a row of meaningless automobiles,
And suddenly there’s your wife’s car—what do you do?
You can’t just walk past your wife’s car.

She had twenty-two minutes remaining on her parking meter.
I have the key to her car, so I decided to wait.

I opened the door and sat down in the passenger’s seat.
I knew she’d be happy to see me because we have an excellent marriage.

I sat there with the windows rolled down.
I noticed an oak leaf hydrangea in somebody’s front yard.
I never even knew what an oak leaf hydrangea was
Until my wife told me what an oak leaf hydrangea was.

Then I saw her in the distance approaching the car.
I was enjoying the situation, the childish suspense.
But then she came closer, and I could see she was crying.
She opened the door and she put her arms around me.

She said, “I’m so glad you saw my car.”


That’s an awfully grand word for sitting alone at a kitchen table.
There’s a fly going around and around and around the room.
He lands for a second on somebody’s thank you note.

The microwave oven sounds like a very small Fourth of July.
A reproduction of Willie Nelson’s voice is coming through the vestibule.
It seems to be saying, Don’t knock arsenic in the drinking water until you’ve tried it.
Let’s be thankful we don’t have to be thankful.

Then a moment’s silence, then a mother’s ambiguous voicemail.
It triggers a memory of a counterclockwise boyhood.
A bird flies into our garage in Illinois.
The bird walks out the side door with a rubber band in his beak.
My mother holds my hand like it’s the last swordfish burrito on earth.

Will heaven ever close for remodeling?
Will the rugs and chairs become an embarrassment?
To think what passed for heaven in the old days—

Matt Cook's newest book is Proving Nothing to Anyone, from Publishing Genius. Follow him on Twitter.

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