Summer 03


When the Babies Discover Torque




We tell them over and over. “Babies, go to bed. Babies, wash your hands. Babies, don’t drink and drive.” They never listen. Inside the garage, soft heads bumping under the car hood like moths against a light bulb, they pass the tools between them. We decide to sing some nursery rhymes, remind them who they really are. “This little baby’s eating spark plugs, this little baby’s ripping out hoses, and this little baby’s thumping tie rods—whomp, whomp, whomp.” We think we should try to save them, but we’re not sure from what. Torque? The sultry lure of silicone grease and deep tread rubber? Between the heavy purr and rev of engine, in the sweet, low garble of baby talk, we hear them tell us something. “Blow it out your ass.” We step outside, close the door between us.


Mary A. Koncel is a long-time devotee of the prose poem. Her work has appeared in a variety of journals and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, Denver Quarterly, The Journal, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, and No Boundaries: Prose Poems by 24 American Poets. She was a recipient of a fellowship in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and her poems have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. In 1999, Quale Press published her chapbook, Closer to Day. Her full-length collection of prose poems, You Can Tell the Horse Anything, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press.