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. 

30 Degrees

Snow dusts the concrete at dawn,
not cumulative, just obscuring
patches of ice. I brush the windshield,
ignore the roof. Every few winters
this self starts to feel like a pretense.
Why name and face difficulty
in a body, in thought. It thrashes
or goes still when you fail to recognize
that gaze in the rearview. A warning:
she rejects every available friction,
sways rudderless. A stranger in pajamas
stops me to ask for money and prayers,
but this ‘I’ seems unable to meet any need,
unable to speak even. Blame arrives,
then guilt. It takes so long to heat the car
each time. And what’s autonomy—
a series of decisions. Hours and clouds
shift. Steam rises. Vessels constrict
in this weather; blood abandons
extremities. I want, idly, to be more
kind, more anything. Crystals of salt
encrust the road and every passing tire.

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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