My grandpa built a go-cart out of junk:
An old lawnmower engine, scraps of metal,
A cupboard door, a cushion. The result
Was forty miles-per-hour of swerving joy—
Flung gravel, wind-snagged bugs, my father’s arms
Vined around mine to help me steer.
We gunned it past the neighbors’ humdrum farms.
The message: we are here.
Sometimes I think I thought of him as God,
Who teases out the mum petal by petal,
Who barks the trees and blades whole fields of grass,
Who skies the earth and sees the laughing boy
I was and loves him: clunkish, cloud-brained, his.
A man all motor oil and steel
And most poetic in his silences,
He made me something real.
Who didn’t see the Lord’s enduring blueprint?
Nightfall, dry riverbeds, the withered nettle.
He made it clear. Stage Four. Hemoptysis.
We had to watch the cancer cells destroy
My father’s father’s body, and the sight
Told us what we’d need to know:
God takes the true mechanic’s own delight
In making something go.