The Wardrobe’s Best Dressed: Automotive by Ceridwen Hall

This selection, chosen by Managing Editor Krista Cox, is from Automotive by Ceridwen Hall, released by Finishing Line Press in 2020. 

at the DMV

you go sweet and pliant
for convenience sake, let
the clerk decide your eyes
are blue like the many chairs
and the number 41 you are

to be processed; you wait and stand
and answer yes and no and 1987
and recite the letters in the vision
screening; something peripheral
flashes and you lift an arm, consent
to be an organ donor; 5’7, then spell
your entire name again

until it sounds strange to you
and like the surface of water, ripples
or splashes; when you sign the registry,
you find you’ve been labeled male,
point the error out, nicely, are asked
to repeat your data, watch all of it

bob around as if in a blue pool
where letters grow light and plastic
and the weather is lovely today
you agree and write a check,
then sit at the monitor and answer
questions about fog or how to pass
slower vehicles, how to survive

various abstract and hypothetical
scenarios on roads unlike any
you’ve driven in this state
or ever—but you press buttons
in the correct sequence, proceed
to be photographed, gaze straight,
as directed, at the butterfly icon

Ceridwen Hall is a poet, editor, and educator from Ohio. Although she’s lived on both coasts and in the mountains, she retains a deep appreciation for the Midwest and its roads. She completed her MFA at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, and her PhD at the University of Utah, where she received the Clarence Snow Fellowship and the Levis Prize in Poetry. Her poems and essays have appeared in Spoon River Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, Pembroke Magazine, Tar River Poetry, The Cincinnati Review, and other journals.


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