The Dipstick by Janet I. Buck
I am the wrong-sized font
for measuring the ratio of firm grit to oil.
I poke a dipstick down the hole
of gathered years, coming up
with grime intact and little else
to steel this engine over wheels.
So much of ghostly aperture,
of whittling the darkness down,
you and those in cousined flesh
must court in frail willingness.
I want to knot-pick clotted bobbins,
boondocks of denying grief.
These flasks of grainy memories
with cherry pits for corks and screws.
Your heritage in sepia before my eyes.
Daddy pedals your little bike.
You look on with pea-pod grins.
His chin, a tea cup for your dreams.
From my myopic vantage point,
I see the bible in his hand
as paper not a judgment bale
of hay you didn’t wish to fork
or bind in blossomed infancy.
Religion was his certain lace
that you would find a bookmark
in an ugly text of war and gloom,
seize a page of marigolds
and altars of eternal eagles,
wing-spans wider than his skin
on which to lean the trying times.
The hour of tinyness is gone.
Your hair is gray.
His eyes have changed.
The rain should be
communion rites on cracking plates
to make a sweet mosaic of.