Exhaust Systems

Linda Kunhardt


The children are gone. They
were born, they ate, they left.

Beside my ruptured Subaru,
I dig past dead leaves

to become a rock
or worm, but one day

I must deal with emissions.
I pretend I don’t mind

the indivisible absence,
but my nerves are so aligned

that when a car goes by
I look for children laughing.


Linda Kunhardt’s poems have appeared in Brittle Star, Tender, Poetry, The New Yorker, New Letters, American Poetry Review, Poetry Daily, and elsewhere. She received the Poetry Foundation’s Bess Hokin Prize in 2012. She runs writing workshops at the Belknap County Jail in Laconia, New Hampshire.