NaNo(inPo)WriMo #1 Conception Waltz

Last year I started NaNoWriMo in good faith, as a story that appeared in my head written in poems. Then I got the flu on November 6th and that was the end of that project. This year I’m starting again, using the first few pieces from last year and then trying to find my way back into this voice that is speaking to me. Or through me. There may be no difference between those.

Conception Waltz

late afternoon out to the barn
keys and can of leaded gas in hand
rusty slide of door rolling back
grandpa’s faded truck

door locks never used not even once

lifting the steel hood to check
the connections on last week’s
new battery, pulling out
the cardboard scrap to check
the size of the oil stain

rusty chrome of door handle

hinges and your voice both
rumbling scratches so long
since either prayed

the smell of him might still remain

the imprint of his left fingers on
the back of the choke throttle
youtube says pull it one half inch

but the heart is looking now, seeing
more than a camera ever could
pulling the lever as far as it will come
spraying WD-40, sliding it in and out again

until it comes no farther

how can the key be so small?

In it goes, turning and hoping
turning and holding breath
turning and a click and a sputter

feet waltzing:
pedal choke clutch
pedal choke clutch
pedal choke clutch

sputtering and dying
sputtering and gasping
sputtering and shuddering
and then

the closest thing to a purr this old engine
ever had

letting the engine run
lying down across the seat
decades of dust and yet the smell
of hay and ponies and the carhartts
soaked with gas and engine oil he
wore home from work
six days a week

perfume of a life lived with
limited choices, pony manure enough
to grow tomatoes wider than
a supper plate

just laying, the jerky engine idle
the rhythm of your


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