Maintenance and Other Poems


Maintenance

  for Louis Corrigan

When my old man died, he left me a truck,
a Chevy Blazer, old but cared for. I gave it to a cousin
because he often sat with my dad

and sometimes stayed overnight
when my dad was old and sick and I couldn’t get there.
A week or so later, another cousin called and offered


to buy the Blazer for her father, who was broke
and needed wheels to get to a new job. Often he and my dad
had changed the oil and filters, and done routine work


on the brakes. But I’d already given the Blazer away.
This uncle was a man I loved. He and my dad
were tight. I felt terrible—


two deserving men and one truck.
“Maintenance is the life
of a car,” my old man would say


as he pulled the Blazer onto the steel lifts,
and my uncle shoved a spout
into an oil can. Not bad advice


from a man who would never see a doctor
and died a slow and agonizing death
from leukemia.


A View from the Prayer Porch

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