the cure mint car
Mint Car
by Kate Garrett

It was the furthest thing from “mint” –
one door didn’t lock, the other didn’t open,
the broken air con’s warm breath peppered
extra discomfort onto ninety-eight degree days.

But it had been my eighteenth birthday gift the year
before, when grandpa taught me how to drive.

From then I’d go where I needed to go,
wheels whirling over asphalt,
crystalline guitar and bass in my veins, Robert

Smith singing about a strawberry kiss,
my gothmobile hugging liquid bends
in sunlight – and it felt like flight.

The blue, green, gold, and grey
threads wound a tunnel around
that ancient ghost-black Ford – last factory
fresh when my age was a single digit –

and I drove, alone, raising my voice and my face
to the clouds, until I passed
the spot where my grandfather died
behind the wheel of his own car,

where I rode the brake, let my almost-grown
heart crack pink to grey, cushioned
by fields and sky; kept in check between hills
and rockslide warning signs.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “Mint Car” is a song by The Cure, from their album Wild Mood Swings (1996). I was a huge fan of The Cure in my teens, and this was my favourite driving song in spring and summer. My grandfather bought my car for me, and his passion in life was about cars – he was a race car driver in his younger days, and a mechanic for most of his life. He died in a car accident in February 1999, and this poem is about the loss of a good man, a man who was more like my father than any other person, but it is also the love of driving he managed to pass on to me.

PHOTO:  This photo is from the author’s younger, more gothic, years, circa 1999-2000, taken by one of the her oldest and dearest friends, who titled it “Smithing Katey’s Hair” (after Robert Smith from The Cure, of course).


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Kate Garrett was born thirtysomething years ago in southwestern Ohio, but has lived all of her adult life in the UK. She writes poems and flash fiction, and edits other people’s poems and flash fiction. Her work appears here and there, most recently or forthcoming in By&By Poetry, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Melancholy HyperboleSlink Chunk Press, and After the Pause. Kate’s latest book of poetry and flash fiction, Bewitched and Other Stories, was released by Pankhearst in August 2015, and her second full poetry pamphlet, The Density of Salt, is forthcoming from Indigo Dreams Publishing in 2016. She lives in Sheffield, England, with her three sons, a folkmusicianpoet, and a cat.