Knuckles and Words – Michael Lauchlan

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).

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