Andrew Hudgins
July 2004

 


The Cadillac in the Attic


After the tenant moved out, died, disappeared
—the stories vary—the landlord
walked downstairs, bemused, and told his wife,
"There’s a Cadillac in the attic,"

and there was. An old one, sure, and one
with sloppy paint, bald tires,
and orange rust chewing at the rocker panels,
but still and all, a Cadillac in the attic.

He’d battled transmission, chassis, engine block,
even the huge bench seats,
up the folding stairs, heaved them through the trapdoor,
and rebuilt a Cadillac in the attic.

Why’d he do it? we asked. But we know why.
For the reasons we would do it: for the looks
of astonishment he’d never see but could imagine.
For the joke. A Cadillac in the attic!

And for the meaning, though we aren’t sure what it means.
And of course he did it for pleasure,
the pleasure on his lips of all those short vowels
and three hard clicks: the Cadillac in the attic.


From Ecstatic in the Poison, The Overlook Press/Sewanee Writers’ Series, 2003.