Tread Wear

Steel Belted Radials

They don’t make movies like
they used to, he said, but they
never made tires like this—then he
says it: haltingly, wistfully, as if
it were a line from a popular ballad

Steel Belted Radials

as if Leonard Cohen himself
were standing there before you
casting tire-buying spells with
magical incantations and smiles
backed up by the pedigree of
a pure bred confidence

Steel Belted Radials

spinning, orbiting
they sing against the pavement
with a melody above, apart
from the automotive implication
of a sure grip on a slick surface
or a rolling rampart

against punctures, evoking
scenes of roadside despair
with passengers pressing sad faces
against rain speckled windows
as you labor with a jack handle
against fate itself

Steel Belted Radials

upon the radiant bearings of
the gods, such a car would soar
on a cushion of air, uplifting
inspired, like an ode to a planet
draped gloriously in robes of
carbon monoxide, cinched by cords
of endless highway

Steel Belted Radials

you reach for your wallet
like a magistrate for his gavel
to the background hum of a
grinding economy, and spit gravel
peeling out of the flag-draped lot
and drive, you drive back to the

bottoms where your domain asserts
a stubborn little imprint, the tread sipes
in a dirt driveway, within patterns too
large and convoluted to comprehend
perhaps, and the radio is tuned
to a country song about disgrace
and redemption