You stroll into the garage like an angel
diving into sudden grace; all the gears and gaskets
in the place shine brighter now, engines hum their low,
loving hymns to vroom and go, beauty of brawn
directed forward into flight. Whistling lightly, you caress
your tools, measure copper tubing, cut it down to size,
shoot thin flames to rearrange it, slowly shape and change it,
all according to some fine plan you have devised.
You study stacks of diagrams, handle metal by the sheet,
weld solutions thoughtfully. You are careful, useful, neat.
Sometimes the snow demands to be shoveled;
it piles up, and bills drift into mountains that fall apart,
that swirl around your knees. When we turn up the heat,
Lord, how the pipes sigh and wheeze, but we must try
a little longer living with a furnace that’s antique. And now
your father needs to tell you something urgent, but since
the stroke, he can barely speak. What emerges when he tries
could break your heart. The strongest man in the world
has turned feeble, peevish, weak. And your son,
who’s far away, forgets to call, forgets to call, forget
all that. Something crystal clear and perfect
is taking shape right here. The answers seek and find
you in this austere garage retreat, temple of True Value
tools, where you, my laboring lover, are lost
in pure, creative heat.
Art credit: "Noe Welding," photograph of welder Todd Noe, by Brandon Skinner.