Turn Over


My neighbor’s pickup stutters through my open window.
He’s not going anywhere. The solenoid engages
and the engine murmurs, but it’s the heartbeat
of failure, this futile resuscitation. On my TV,
downstairs—glowing in my absence—the analysts
stab fingers at deep blue and red maps of my country.
They zoom in to reveal more borders—county lines
I’d never known, never imagined, never considered,
until this week, when I’ve memorized the shapes
of Maricopa, Allegany, Washoe, Fulton, Clark.
We speculate upon overseas ballots floating over the Atlantic.
They could be anywhere, could pour in and change
blue to red and red to blue, and my neighbor
keeps trying. He keeps cranking the engine, coaxing,
praying behind the steering wheel of an immobile white
Chevy Silverado, made, partly, in the American factories,
in the year 2008. Of course, most of its parts were made
elsewhere, fathered by foreign hands, shipped here
to be assembled by immigrant hands in American factories
in the counties of Genesee, Allen, after, of course, Guanajuato.
Downstairs, where the TV idles, news breaks
about Pennsylvania, finally called, finally sure,
and those floating overseas ballots—no one will need them,
after all, for a tally that didn’t end up being close. But yesterday,
no one would dare predict, and my neighbor
was buffing out the rust, hand-sanding, then applying
gray epoxy like clouds against the Chevy’s white body.
Yesterday, he had yet to even try to turn the engine over,
to test its life. Perhaps his TV also glowed,
like mine, like ours. Perhaps he ached to refresh
his smart phone screen to see numbers creep,
a few hundred at a time, as much care as a single vote
could ever endure, in this country counted by counties.
Yesterday, was body work for my neighbor, but today, he tries
again and the engine catches and grumbles and runs.
An urge of universal easing seeps through me, too,
as we share this win, alone, he and me with our glowing
TVs inside, unwatched. Until his engine quits.

Dustin Hoffman