A New Knowledge of Reality by Scott Silsbe

Just off work, 5:30 on a Friday, driving up Penn Avenue
to meet up with some friends for a few happy hour beers
at a Primanti Brothers that once was an old Picway Shoes.

I’m at the point where Penn becomes Ardmore Boulevard
and splits off, sending you downhill towards the parkway
and driving up Ardmore towards me comes this stunning,
great white whale of a classic car. And even though I’ve
never been a car nut, this one gets me—it’s breath-taking.

And I want to be able to say with authority, “Wow, look
at the ’54 Chevy Corvette!” or, “Ah, a Bentley Mark VI!”
but the truth is, not knowing my cars, I don’t know what
it is that’s coming towards me, that’s impressing me so.

And I like to think maybe this one moment will change
the way I go about things and will make me care about
makes and models of automobiles from their inception,
though it’s more likely I’ll just carry on the way I have
been carrying on, using cars when they are necessary,
not going to classic car shows, not collecting replicas
of ones I wish I could own. I like that there are these
moments though, when one object or one comment
can open up a new world of possibility, a new realm
of knowledge of what’s real or important in the world.
That I have the option to pursue it if I am so inclined.
And that even if I don’t, perhaps my reality is altered.

Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit and now lives in Pittsburgh. His poems have recently appeared in numerous periodicals including Nerve Cowboy, Chiron Review, and The Chariton Review. He is the author of two collections of poems: Unattended Fire and The River Underneath the City.

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