Photos of Grandfather With His Cars
The cigar announces his reckless approach
to child rearing; rings appear and vanish
like gold the Nebilungs never found.
There he stands, a captain, beside each
land barge— Model-A, Pierce Arrow, Packard,
then a Cadillac Deville— each more elaborate
than the rental homes that housed
his family. Back from bootlegging whiskey
down every logging road in the county, he’d
crackle like carpet before lightning and laugh
at anything I said. Grandmother cried
over his drinking and their three
sons hauling untaxed fifths to restaurants.
I love to look at him, in each one, for
luck that took such liberty with his heart.
“…bombing birds that can’t out fly their small lives…”
When we flew off, cottonwoods shrank
into cornstalks, reversing growth.
Metal hawk roaring overhead
dropped its eggs of fire.
When we flew off, demons burned
in cars below. Sun shattered
like glass of yesterday
in windows of stones.
When we flew off to other
worlds of river maples,
sun the color of chickadees
Spooked by falling smokestacks,
brimstone vapors waving like leaves
in shadows of the moon,
we flew off, losing the smell of home.