One Hundred Moving Parts of Love  •  poems by lenny dellarocca

My Father and The Thing That Mel Made

I imagined our house an empire on the verge of fairytale.
All these years later
in the yellow light of a bare bulb,
I’m smoke-shadow on this garage cupboard
which was built by Mel, our neighbor,
who worked it done Sundays
in the summer of ’58.
He was a carpenter from the old days,
yellow pencil behind his ear.
Mel was an oracle.
Something in the way of magic in his eyes.
That blue snow.
He was a level’s bubble of know-how,
steady as a sun dial’s shadow.
Put it in the thing that Mel made,
my father told my sister
after he let snap a tape measure for something needing cut,
but cut wrong.
Sometimes at night I thought I heard
a box of screws
spilling onto the concrete floor
of this old garage.
My father said it was the house
creaking like an old puppet,
a storm of tools,
junk-drawer ghosts,
a clock that lost its chimes,
tarnished dog tags or
radio beeps from Sputnik.
My father was a man who believed in
nothing but cold steel, wheel of saw
sparking out its guts,
a Geppetto who could never fix what needed fixing most.

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