Odometer

—  Harry Lafnear

One hundred thousand miles
Still means something to some:
The kind of milestone met
With a divided heart,
Half in fanfare, half in prayer
That the old American engine
Lasts a little longer,
Not punish us too quickly
For neglecting to reserve
The transplant fund.

I still see all those numbers
Turning at once just past the Pak N Save;
All those nines gone to nothing,
Rolling over the top and then… what?
One hundred thousand one,
One hundred thousand two,
They come and pass the same,
Every mile: just once, here and gone.

Was ninety thousand less deserving?
Or eighty-five? Fifty?
Where was four hundred thirty-three?
What was the number when we met?
When we mingled our CDs?
When we parked
And went into the woods,
Adding mileage to our shoes
And to ourselves;
Turning time into life,
Breath and bone into soul,
And one quiet whisper into love;
Leaning in without a care
For our mismatched numerology,
Ignorant of the days or weeks or years
Until our own hidden hundred thousands
Wreck our togetherness?

Until then, we are content to pretend
There are no dials. Until the engine sputters,
We a happy to ignore
Which of us is counting forward
All of what is spent,
And which is counting backward
What remains.

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