He left in the dew,
Striding out, shoulders engulfed in flannel,
Dented thermos banging stiff Carharts.
Worn cork boots trapped tracks in the white grass;
Stiff bent legs and the weight of strength
Could not scatter the frozen gravel.
His rusted red rocket waited patiently:
An R-190 International,
The tool he knew best, trusted most,
Trucking timber on back Oregon roads.
Pulling open the heavy, creaking door,
Hoisting himself into man heaven,
I smelled with him
The cracked leather, the ingrained oil,
Mutt dirt, boiled Folgers, and gun powder.
The world was chilly and comfortable to him –
Cold and lonely to me,
Free from quilts
to peer out
The engine roared out
To the sleepy girl, the barking spaniels,
and the frosted morning air.
It crooned, “Grandpa will be back”
while I watched
his tracks fade.
Published in The Squid, 2012; Won 19th place in the 7th Annual Writer’s Digest Poetry Contest, 2012
Smooth cold burns my young cheek, my body
Hunkered inside an ancient sleeping bag
In the cab of Dad’s gillnet boat,
James Joyce in my hand,
Raymond Carver at my side:
My dad saw
“those goddam books.”
My dad growled
“you never look outside.”
Internally, I sneer
I see more than you.
Externally, I glare
Out the small, wet windows.
Ernest Hemingway in my arms
Cautions that Dad is right;
Jamaica Kincaid at my feet
Says a girl should appreciate the view,
Not held hostage
By ink and bindings.
Whitecaps slap me in the face,
Douglas firs wave frantically from shore,
Mill debris and corks skid by gleefully,
Smelt stream sullenly into obvious nets:
Oh. I see.
Published in The Squid, 2012