My father, a carpenter, built us trucks
in his shop with wooden wheels, trucks
as big as breadboxes or couch cushions,
trucks with hinged dump bodies.
My brother and I hauled loam and sand,
smoothed roads by the front stone wall,
growled diesel, downshifted, reversed.

My father had pages of distance and pages
of anger, but the wooden trucks smiled his
warmth—red paint, hinged dumps, cabs.

Afternoons we’d load and hum our trucks,
the curious crows watching from the white
pine, gray squirrels looping, our Lab,
Pepper, eyeing us from the shade.

Evenings, after my mother’s goulash, my
brother and I knelt by the bulkhead loading,
dumping, shifting gears into unknown regions.
We imagined the land of stop signs and gas
pumps, pot-holes and sudden turns, yawping
along the inscrutable roads of childhood

into manhood and our own trucks, our Nissans,
Chevies, Fords stacked with tool-boxes, wheel-
barrows, table saws, ladders on the rack.