I’m 8 years old, perched
on a headlight under the raised hood
of our white four-door Chevy,
which has somehow stranded us
at Uncle Bob’s farm.
But this isn’t like the time before,
in Canada, when we broke down
along a country road, far from home.
Across the back seat Crystal and I
had played cards with mom while you
paced, and raged how God must hate
you. I wondered, why you thought
He’d bother a little family like ours,
only on vacation. Wouldn’t He
have more important things to do?
No one home at the farm,
but you know where the tools are—
your hands gloved in grease.
You are in control, under sweat
and sun. I hold something in place
while you work. Afterwards,
when the engine cranks,
you thank me, slap me on the back.
“Thank God you were here,” your smile
wide and rare as the words you say:
“I couldn’t have done it without you.
I couldn’t have done it without you.”