Raymond Byrnes

Late Models

I don’t remember much 

about our old DeSoto 

except huge lobster-eye 

headlights bulging over

fender waves, a long black 

running board, and warm 

brown mohair against my cheek 

riding home in winter night, 

but I recall our ice-blue Hudson 

from that Lake Street lot we 

loved to roam with Dad. 

Its bright chrome grill dazzled  

across the whole front end

above a shiny, thick steel

bumper that could never bend.

Then came a green Packard 

Clipper, rounded like a massive 

armored turtle with a small silver 

swan up front that Dad pushed 

to 90 along the Mississippi 

heading toward La Crosse. 

One day he brought home to

my brother and me a nice old 

beige Studebaker Champion 

with a bullet nose, flathead six, 

clutch, and three on the column.


Dad and all his favorite makes are

gone, their hood ornaments hard

to find as a shoulder patch from his

V Amphibious Corps, and the old lot

on Lake features a “Manager’s 

Special” from Mitsubishi, builder

of light, fast Zero carrier aircraft.


Recent work by Raymond Byrnes has been read on “The Writer's Almanac” and accepted/published in Main Street Rag, Third Wednesday, Shot Glass Journal, and numerous other places. For many years, after leaving a tenured position teaching college English in the Midwest, he managed communications for the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Land Imaging Program. He lives in Virginia.

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