Fingers thick, tendons corded,
knuckles popped and knobbly,
palms raised with translucent callus,
hands strong from heavy work.
Vast knowledge becomes art,
a deftness with lines and knots and sails.
An engine’s ping or hum or thrum,
each message understood in mechanic’s Morse code.
A growing breeze conveys a storm, a sea change,
whipping the gray-blue waves,
sensing to react, forewarned,
or to weather it without concern.
Regarding the look and feel of a mushroom grown
on a dense forest floor to the size of a summer cantaloupe.
Delight in painting the scene of a country woods –
Whistler’s Mother’s Son.
Hightailing it up a night-lit mountain trail at the helm
of a snowmobile, happiest manning a machine,
trailing as many tow ropes, skiers, sledders, tobogganists
as the heavy engine will haul. Pushing its limits.
Bright blue eyes twinkle like Santa’s
as his kids and the neighbors’ kids
scream down the hill in the bouncing,
jouncing beam of the headlight.
Chastising an old dog
– easily shamed, she runs away –
he’s left to search for her in the cold
and the still and the deep night.
Trapped behind the apron of a low-hanging fir,
belly deep in drifts of snow, her feathers
clumped with ice, she wriggles when
he finds her, and he carries her home.
To do the hard thing
because he is a man –
to bury the horse,
to watch his son cry,
A man is born and made,
by choice and circumstance,
by willed conscience and willful unconscious.
My father dances on the waves of the ocean.