national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2014


Samuel Diener  • 
University of California, Berkeley

That car hasn’t moved since the day he left.

Gray wind litters it with leaves,

the refuse and the jetsam of the forest;

cat’s-paw footsteps stir debris,

leave dried-mud traces of their forays

on dented sheets of steel left here

among the willow trees.


Light and shadows play on leather and on wood;

on a broken pair of flower-print sunglasses,

the air-vent, shattered by her feet,

both deep and shallow scratches

and little burns of ancient matches

from cigarettes before he met her.


Once-spinning wheels are now a home for bees,

buzzing past the aging rubber

and the brand-new brakes

he bought for life’s outtakes

and those close calls that terrified her.


Inside, air is silent, hushes echoes,

edges of their moments dampened

by leather and by steel: soft foam

rubber bulging from the seams

of torn front seats.