My great-grandmother named her faded blue 1949 Plymouth Cranbrook coupe La Machina, The Machine. Eventually, it was handed down to my grandmother, who passed it on to an aunt, and finally, in 1967, me. By then, it had lost its luster. Woven seat covers showed their age, frayed and unraveling. Sandy floorboards were near-nonexistent, a useful feature during the sixties as it allowed quick ditching of sinsemilla doobies should flashing red lights from a police car or highway patrol appear in the rear-view window. One weekend, friends helped me stencil huge peace signs and psychedelic flowers in brilliant colors over the roof, hood, and doors.

Throughout a variety of jerkwater towns in the drab Central Valley, I puttered along at a smoke-belching fifty miles per hour, grinding my way through gears using a floppy clutch and the ungainly column shift. Cars piled up behind me as La Machina and I struggled along narrow country streets, up slight elevations. 

When I graduated to a gently used, metallic blue Ford Mustang, my 17-year-old brother-in-law inherited the clunky, worn-out vehicle. During his maiden drive, he ran over dad’s foot, then crashed her into a fence, wiping out an almond tree. After two decades of faithful service to at least three generations, our beloved Machina became twisted wreckage, ignominiously totaled.

Jennifer Lagier owes her Italian heritage to her grandparents, Joseph Peini and Clementina Canclini. Her work appears in a variety of anthologies, ezines, and literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, edits the Monterey Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Recent publications: Rising Voices: Poems Toward a Social Justice Revolution, Syndic Literary Journal, and more. Her most recent books: Meditations on Seascapes and Cypress (Blue Light Press), COVID Dissonance (CyberWit), and Camille Chronicles (FutureCycle Press).