Changing a Truck Battery

Kerry James Evans

The cables broke off in the teeth
of my channel locks, lead
terminal corroded worse than the tile floor
at Steak ‘n Shake, where they
still haven’t found a decent recipe
for hash browns. Anyway, I shocked

the ever-loving shit out of myself,
forgetting to remove the negative before
the positive, which fried three fuses—
one of which controls my power steering pump,
and yes, it was all easy enough to fix,
and no, I didn’t get hurt too bad,

save the weird jaw pain
that seemed to come out of nowhere,
which probably had more to do
with dehydration than my world-renowned
mechanical talents, but what do I do
with a locked jaw, a 15 year-old pickup,

and this angst I haven’t felt
since before this truck was built?
Where do I haul it? Upon
whose outstretched arms, whose cross
do I hang it? Why would I
want to give away such grief so easily,

when I can toss it in the bed,
pop the clutch, and coast down the hill
for coffee with an old friend? I love Jesus,
but I also love commiserating
with those who don’t have a prayer—
who struggle, like me, with praying at all.

from Issue 29.1

KERRY JAMES EVANS is the author of Bangalore (Copper Canyon). He lives and works in St. Louis, Missouri.