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.