Big Cars

Ten years later
they arrive on the thruway,
pulling winged fenders and smiling
a lane wide—big cars,
old floats that took a wrong
corner somewhere and lost
the American dream parade. Around them

the strange, grilleless
cars of the future
hum at their tires—tiny aliens
of a planet out of gas.

To think of their long trip
just beginning—the irrepressible fuel
rising everywhere into their tanks!
For the first time, armrests
unfolded out of seats;
out of the armrests, ashtrays!
Maps fell open to the new roads

which led them, finally, here
to the right lanes of America—
the antiques of optimism
nobody understands or wants
except the poor. Or dictators

driving down boulevards in some country
where the poor do not have cars
and run alongside until it seems
that they themselves are riding
on soft shocks, under a sun roof,
toward the great plenty of the New World.

-Wesley McNair