By Carol Ellis

The widow in the desert
started collecting
thirty-five years ago
when her husband
closed his junkyard
and gave her all his hubcaps.
He became sorry he did,
because he thought
she’d lost her mind
when she kept
collecting more hubcaps
that just happened
to roll in off the road.

Last time she counted
there were 110,000
blinking at her in the sun.
She likes to wash hubcaps.
She caresses them
with a wet rag,
sometimes she sings
with the dry, hot metal of her voice.
Sometimes she is silent,
either way the water
runs down her arms then turns
her breasts wet.
She drinks from the hose,
she sucks the damp shine down.


Carol Ellis teaches writing at the University of California, Merced. Her recent poetry publications include The Comstock Review, Alehouse, and ZYZZYVA. She currently has a book of poems under consideration for publication.

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