The First Car I Wrecked
—poetry by Catfish McDaris

My dad went and bought a new baby
blue Ford Galaxie 500, it had a V-8 and
a three speed standard transmission
shifter on the column, he was proud

He would let me play like I was driving,
I would steer, play shift and honk the horn,
one day I discovered the cigarette lighter

I pushed it in and pulled it out and it
was cherry red hot, I thought I wish
I was old enough to smoke, looking
around for something to burn

I noticed the blue plastic shifter knob,
I got the lighter glowing and stuck it to
the plastic, it melted and filled the car
with a stench, I got my ass beat hard.

Catfish McDaris is a New Mexican living near Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has four walls, a ceiling, heat, food, a woman, a daughter, and two cats. His work has been translated into Spanish, French, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Mandarin, Yoruba, Bengali, Tagalog, and Esperanto. His 25 years of published material is in the Special Archives Collection at Marquette University.