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Waxing the Used Fairlane
circa 1965
by donnarkovic

Dad drives to a shady creek
and lets me wade in the deep cold water
bucket in hand, no mother
to fuss over wet socks and sneakers.

With soapy rags we wash
the pale blue paint,
the color of an ocean
I can only imagine,
the color of construction paper
on which I crayon burnt orange suns,
the color of nail polish
the girl next door wears.

After we swirl Turtle Wax,
we wait for the polish to cloud.
I explore the streambed, the smell
of wild mint on my tongue
like a stick of gum.
Dad naps, his body sturdy
as the Fairlane, his blood
flowing silent, a familial river
wider than my present stride.

When I lay down beside him
I know I will not sleep,
the roar of a distant sea,
the climbing amber sun,
the girl next door.
But as I watch Dad's chest
rise and fall,
I understand things
concerning me will have an end.


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