Caroline Bracken, National Car Test

National Car Test

A man’s world this garage. I am out of my depth
in the face of blue-overalled mechanics.
I hand you over, they tell me not to worry
as you disappear into a theatre of lights,

gauges, screeching brakes, monitors.
Bracing myself, I watch the operation
the stuttering invasive examination
all your secrets exposed.

Rising to the ceiling, you dance
a ballet in time to a rap song
shaking your booty
as they lower you to ground.

I wait with anxious relatives
smoking, drinking coffee
won’t be long now
we reassure each other.

The head-man’s face is blank
when he wheels you out
saving the verdict for the privacy
of his office

more work to be done but
there’s life in the old girl yet
he is being kind, well-trained
in delivering bad news

he doesn’t know that I have signed
Do not resuscitate papers before.
Pitying eyes follow our exit
mine are dry

I hold my head up, roll down
your windows to let you breathe
drive you home

Caroline Bracken’s poems have been published in Abridged, the Irish Times, Bangor Literary Journal, Sentinel Quarterly Review, Skylight 47, The North, the Fish Anthology, the Ogham Stone, Poetry Jukebox and are forthcoming in the Best New British & Irish Poets Anthology 2021. Her poems have won the iYeats, Poetry Day Ireland and Parkinson’s Art Poetry Competitions. She was a finalist in the Manchester Writing Competition, 2020 and was selected for the Poetry Ireland Introductions Series, 2018. She lives in Dublin.

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