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Published: Fri Oct 15 1976
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas

A woman was in the back seat, or the passenger’s seat. The windows clouded up. He asked her to get out and check whether it was grease or ice. She opened the door and cold air set the teeth chattering. With her guitar-player’s fingernails she chipped at the coated windshield and called out that it was ice.

She got back in and, blind still, having done nothing more than ascertain the composition of the crud, they ran smack into snow drifts. The next thing they knew, they were sliding backwards out of control down a back road.

As they slid they talked about the cooling systems of the car, and it was pointed out that fresh cool air was constantly circulating by means of an appendage on the bonnet, something like a wen in front of the windscreen.

They talked of cooling a car that was increasing its rearward speed and getting colder and colder.

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Brian Swann has published many books in a number of genres: poetry, short fiction, children’s books, translation, and Native American studies, including Words in the Blood: On Translating Native American Literature (University of Nebraska Press, 2011) and his most recent poetry collection, In Late Light (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013). He lives in Manhattan and Vega, New York. (updated 10/2013)

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