A Driving Instructor’s First Flat Tire by Arlene Ang

A Driving Instructor’s First Flat Tire
Arlene Ang

He took it seriously.
The 8:45 student had a wooden leg.
And the wooden leg had a name: Madame Bovary.
The use of the brakes came later—
with the discovery of side mirrors, Ponds
cold cream, menthol cigarettes.
She liked cheese.
She grated the tire against the curb.
It took him back to a dream
where he had a black-and-white television
in place of a head. It was heavy,
deflating. He was holding
a jack in one hand because he believed
strongly that it would rain.
Static lit up his toenails. That was
the last time he felt good
about himself. From the beginning, he could tell
Madame Bovary was _le mot juste_
for road accident. He saw
a piece of her Yonville on the asphalt.
It was shaped like a bucket.
And the whole time
he was changing the tire,
he actually believed he was swimming the blues.


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