Already half-frozen in the street, I lie on my back peering up, thinking starter, starter, then tracking the wires I pulled loose even before I unbolted the bottom cover and caught the first rusty specs in my eyes. As a mechanic, I’m unreliable, disassembling what I rarely comprehend. Beside me, the prize replacement I dug from a scrap yard. The guy at the register swore it would work. He didn’t swear, really, didn’t need to, simply said it was running when they dragged it in, which didn’t make much sense. I forked over fifty bucks. What choice? On my knuckles, blood squirms past grease. Bolts resist entreaties of penetrating oil and my desperate leverage. I think of wise John Ciardi’s voice on my car radio, his words on the turns of verses and the twisted life of words, as I slip a pipe over the socket wrench, emit unholy noises, and pull.
Michael Lauchlan has contributed to many publications, including New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, The North American Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Sugar House Review, Louisville Review, Poet Lore, Lake Effect, Bellingham Review, and Southern Poetry Review, His most recent collection is Trumbull Ave., from WSU Press (2015).