Hallowing the everyday,
he thumbs his knee at the alabaster,
his feet at the conundrum,
tries hard to reach the not yet reached.
Surfing the tick-a-tock,
fishing for offramps,
songs furrowing the marrow,
the duties of the autodidact.
He blames his wife, who asked
him to clean the garage.
Next to the washer his old
arc welder, red spray paint,
three bags of cans.
He takes his lonely fingers to
the back forty, a creek under
cottonwoods where he and
Jessie played soldier.
The cans are a puzzle, the stubborn
angles, spit of heat,
sunrise of conjoined metal.
A pair of muscular treetrunks,
cherry red, draped in a tarp.
He enters at sunset,
clothed in shadows.
Heats the vegetables,
fingering the letters on the label.
Darcy watches from the couch,
hair twisted into brambles.
At the end of six days,
he has fashioned a Jabberwock,
looming the switchgrass,
chasing small, frightened creatures.
Jessie giggles and runs for his life.
Jessie’s father can no longer wait.
He empties the smaller cans into
plastic bags: asparagus,
black olives, pineapple,
strips off the labels,
maps out the monster’s teeth.
He’s prepping the welder when he
hears Darcy’s truck, the single weak cylinder.
All he can do is watch her
come, slam the door, race his way.
The red catches her by the neck,
slows her feet. She stands beneath the
great jaw, touches the torso, the tail.
He slips past a leg to find her
facing away, a tremolo of shoulders.
Comes from behind to wrap her up.
She’s looking at the creek.
“He would have loved it.”
From the collection Fields of Satchmo
Photo by MJV
Sculpture by Greg Hall