Summer 1990 • Vol. XII No. 3 Poetry |

Repairs

           Words slipping in Christmas whiskey like gears stripped, the old corporal gives us Guadalcanal and my father, a boy, taking down an M1921 water-cooled machine gun by starlight, no moon, while a voice breathes, Marines, you will die tomorrow, a few feet away. Silently he places the parts on a captured battle flag, its Rising Sun invisible in the dark, and cleans them and has them back together when the charge comes at daybreak. This is the version the buddies keep alive.            I pour scotch the color of oil and tell what I remember of weekend repairs, stuck bolt seethed at, ditch root cursed, those narrowed eyes that sent me running for a better tool in the apple-pie order of the shed, eyes that hated everything that needed fixing. I tell it. And feel the past moving behind my words, turning like a man in sleep.            On the porch, through the white smoke of our good-byes, our best

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           Words slipping in Christmas whiskey like gears stripped, the old corporal gives us Guadalcanal and my father, a boy, taking down an M1921 water-cooled machine gun by starlight, no moon, […]

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