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ISSUE:  Winter 1996

The garage lit by a solitary bank of lights.
Enough to work by, a dingy light—
green on green enamel cinder-block,
rows of blackened windows high-up.

Static and fuzz—the knob on the radio
broken off, the radio smudged with finger-prints, grease.
Where the knobs should be, brass shafts, cloven.
The delicate positioning fingers do with a dial,
thumb and fore-finger
starting a nut on a thread.

Bins filled with bolts dark from use,
heavy bins you couldn’t lift, bolts to pick through—
flat-washers the size of coins, lock-washers, clipped
for torque, for a firm seat, a future.

Out of the box, out of the wrapper,
heavy in the hands, a clean part is a thing to behold—
it will shine, it will fit.

A bottle appears—MacNaughton’s.
We’ve worked a double shift,
and like a kid with a secret
he says, as if inviting us to a party,
let’s do another eight.
In the silence that follows,
a long, off-the-air silence, I shiver once
and do another eight.


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