Take This Transmission For Instance

by Rosa Sophia



I have no vehicle for this T18 four-speed transmission

Dana Model 300 transfer case.


This transmission


sat in my father’s shed after his four-wheeler crushed him

in the Pennsylvania woods, sat in the dark after a helicopter

carried my father off the mountain, waited in silence

as my father fell comatose, this transmission ignored

by my stepmother as she sold and gave away my father’s tools

couldn’t be bothered with when my family pulled the plug

couldn’t be reconciled the day I never flew to my father’s funeral.

It sat in this dark, dusty shed for eight years after my father’s death.


Now it doesn’t fit anywhere.


It couldn’t be lifted by my brother Mark in a rainstorm

in the mud two-handed, couldn’t be budged by thought,

ingenuity or reason, 240 pounds of cast iron needed a truck,

my cousin Barry behind the wheel with chains and a trailer.


Caked in grease it came to me with loosened bolts

dirt inside after my cousin inspected it closely, put it in neutral,

gave me advice I can’t remember on shifting gears, while together

we stabbed a perfect circle in my new car’s rear fender

with the spline of this transmission as it hung from a thick chain

like a locket, a reminder, a note as if to say, this doesn’t fit anywhere


before I drove it in the back of my new car 1200 miles

to Florida dragging gas mileage.


Now this dirty transmission hangs from a chain in my garage

where I twirl it after I dragged it from the trunk of my new car

crashed it into my knee and scraped my skin, slammed my wrist

the next day it’s swollen and gray, arm scraped, elbow bruised

dragged the hulking metal on the fender, added marks to my perfect circle


extra dings, a reminder, a note as if to say, take this transmission for instance


now it doesn’t fit anywhere.

Rosa Sophia grew up in Pa. and is working toward an MFA in Creative Writing at FIU in Miami. Her poem, “Take This Transmission for Instance,” won Runner-Up in the 2020 FIU Student Literary Awards. She holds a degree in Automotive Technology, and is also the managing editor of Mobile Electronics magazine.