>the way his wipers work


The Way His Wipers Work
He left me sleeping to snap a shot
of Pokey, the beat-up white pickup with a wet blue

tarp spread out in the back. It had one speed
slower than a wing-window breeze, and wipers
that worked as long as it didn’t rain. We had rattled
across high plains grass, intent on meeting
the cloudburst. When the wipers stopped we slipped
under the tarp to listen and share shivers. The wind
jostled and the rain dumped down. Thunder
snapped around us. I curled into his quiet
faith of living life head-on, trusting
in the storm.

This is an older poem of mine, first published in Main Street Rag. Click here.

When I was at AWP in Denver last month, I visited with M. Scott Douglass, publisher and managing editor of Main Street Rag. He told me the tone of the journal found its roots after 9/11. If you’ve not read the journal before, I should mention there is a trace of humor threading its way through the pages.
In the very Irish household of my childhood, humor was the tool we used to get through the worst of times. The more evident the humor, the more traces of sorrow. This confounding convolution would later baffle the very German spouse from my once-married years. For him (my) humor meant a person (for example, me) didn’t care about anything. Even though I know the truth was the opposite of that conclusion, I also understand why humor can be misconstrued.

(and speaking of bafflement: the aforesaid German is not the man in the poem.)

Mr. Douglass told me after 9/11 he realized humor was  an ointment, a healing tool our nation needed. 
In this poem, humor is also a tool which leads us to that open embrace: acceptance.


About redmitten

author of Cracking Geodes Open, Making Good Use of August, and The Peppermint Bottle. poetry editor for IthacaLit. website: https://toomuchaugust.wordpress.com

6 responses to “>the way his wipers work

  1. >Simply stunning photography, beautiful poem. "The more evident the humor, the more traces of sorrow." So true.Kahil Gibran: The deeper the sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.The Prophet was a wedding present from my mother. I know that see he was so overdone in the 70's his work has been turned into something of a kitche thing. But his words still stay with me.

  2. >Irish humour to me has a special ring. I've just finished watching the BBC drama called Lilies about an Irish family in the early 1900s. It has plenty of humour across a bleak storyline and is wonderful, as is this post – the poem, the thoughts and the images. Thanks.

  3. >A lovely poem. I would love to huddle under a tarp with a head-on kind of man. Wonder what happened to him….I like your photography and I agree with your quotes and assessment of humor.I received your chapbook. I'm loving it. Thanks.

  4. >I can relate to this brand of healing. It has always helped more than hindered…lovely poem and photos.

  5. >melanie- how cool your mom gave you that as a gift. i agree, "the more joy you contain". life seems contrary until we quit fighting it. good to hear from you.elisabeth- someone else i know has recently watched that whole series. i need to track it down. something else that seems so irish is the way we practice for upcoming sorrows (sheesh!). kass- glad you are enjoying the poems (!)the photography: the two landscape photos are mine and i can't claim any artistic talent for them because it's impossible to take a bad shot of that area. western montana gets most of the credit for the awesome landscape in this state, but that is because we keep secret the location of the above photos. (shh: beartooth and absaroka mountain ranges). as far as the man with the storm: he shows up some more in my poems and then he quit showing up in some of my poems. the poem about the tree that you like might have been the last one. still, i believe in storms. you?kerry, good to hear from you and good to hear this sort of humor is healing for you as well. in following your blog, it was my guess that would be the case.

  6. >oh ps- the photo of the flower is from the same area, but i didn't click the camera on that one. someone more willing to stand on the edge of a cliff and reach a camera over the edge did the clicking.

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