Leveler Poetry Journal
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Where Dying Engines Bled

after Jim Cory

I was born in the parlor of a tarpaper farmhouse.

We laid a rocking chair over the stain. Dad patched up rustbuckets.

Some came undone at the seams. Clean, like in manuals.

Some by blowtorch or reciprocating saw.

I had a muscle car. Rusty pieces of. It’d rattle and purr

and sweat, if ya fingered the carburetor right.

My only neighbor had a bigger beard than me. Tattoos for every communist

he killed.

So three. Taught me to pick a fiddle. I forgot.

There were always gunshots. Hunters or drunken hicks. I never killed nothing.

Fished the shit crick and flew a truck with no doors. I used to whoop.

My dog never wore no collar, never bathed. He followed me everywhere.

Ran miles after the bus. Coyotes run’d him off.

I’d never worn shoes til I was six years old.

In fall the leaves were knee deep and red. I wallowed in them.

Jacob Mays