Second-hand trader


I learnt from poet and judge John Bray

our second-hand car trading laws

derive from Roman law for the selling

of cows and chariots. Nothing really changes

poets still tinker with the poem salvaging

what they can from towaways, dropping in

a transmission or exhaust manifold, forever

screwing and tweaking the carby. Anything

to make it hum again. Publishers sniff around

the engine bay. Have you got a cracked head?

I once sold the family sedan for $15. A sky-blue

Datsun 120Y with crumpled rear. I spent

the money that same evening on a book of poetry

by John West. I handed him the only $15 we had.

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