Overheated Heart


Didn’t know it
was overheating

Didn’t see the smoke
Didn’t notice the sizzling
spittle spewing from under
the hood

Finally the smoke crept
from the hood and curled like
a finger of indictment of my
automotive ignorance

Pulling over off the Asheville
Highway I turn off the motor
thinking it might explode when
a truck pulls alongside

Two brown men look at me,
one young but not young and
one older

I see the smoke in your car
for a long time, the younger
one says

They get ouf of the truck
and tell me to pop the hood

Engine overheated

A friend of theirs lives
nearby so we drive there
to get water

The buckets have holes
and cracks, just like my

The younger one tells me
what i need to do–in both
Spanish and English

And i shake my head while
my paved over tongue sits
still, ashamed I look like I
should speak Spanish but

I tell them I’m Filipino (in Spanish)
but i don’t speak much of that

They pour water into
my radiator and do a patch
job so it doesn’t spew anymore
bad news in the language of cars

An overheating car
and I hardly noticed
never being mechanically

How many go from point
A to point B with overheating
hearts, insides?

It is known
as the silent killer

But these 2 brown men,
Mexicanos, popped my hood
did a diagnosis on me

and as they pulled
away, i said,
Gracias, hermanos

Their names:
Armando y Esteban

(c) 2023 Tony Robles

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