So Much Depends Upon A Rental Car Place (After William Carlos Williams)

Bradley David

The young man at the rental car place popped the red hatchback glazed with wax. He invited me to stand in its shade, noticing my forehead disagree with the heat.

It’s strange to be wearing shorts in February, I said, and he asked, Is this an unusual month for that? I’ve never noticed which weather happens when.

I’m often outside, I said, and then he asked why. Gardening has me wearing sweaters in winter, I said, and then he asked about that. What do you grow? he extended a branch. And how long does it take to grow things like that? I began to respond when I saw my answer ticking inside him. On the clock doing his job. Asking questions that clear spaces like the ticking of company policies.

But his inquiry was so big and fertile and rich. An opportunity not to be missed. I wanted to give him seasons and seeds and soil. React to my reflex, like when a plant is tapped on its knee by light and warmth and bees. See, how I could have made gardening rhyme for him? Alliterate upon flowers offering sweets to moonlight moths. I could have turned over a new leaf on a play or poem. Right there on Brand Boulevard; what a grand production! Shirts off, we’d chop that old growth parking lot into a fresh farmer’s field. And dance? Oh, we would dance. Like puppets on honeyed strings. Pollinated with golden voices. Our tapping heels scuffing out edges and angles. Embarrassing the billboards. Softened by grace, buildings would bow at our feet. Iron would ore and glass would sand. The L.A. River would spill its concrete. The young man would circle the pumpkin patch, drunk with sunsets on vines; white chickens clearing his path with a chorus of clucking. What a grand vibration of urban reclamation!

I stalled, about to say, So much depends…, when suddenly he sent me on my way.