Mechanic, by James Berry

Mechanic
by James Berry

Fixin planes no easy art, what with cables an’ flaps, ain’t just luck;
we’re all about safety, here in the desert, hunnerd miles from Nohow.
Changin’ aircraft oil’s a little different than in yer truck,
there ain’t no fly-in jiffy lube and you can’t pull over if ya ferget
t’ wire a plug – those bladders o’ liquid gold cost more, too.
AeroShell quarts straight as pawns, black outside red label
with snapcap childproof top (like a kid might actually drink
that bisciut honey what takes a half-hour to pour).
Gotta warm it from winter molasses-thick – five minutes runnin’
is about right, prop screamin’ to go – ‘scape from dusty earth…
Old stuff gushers out the engine, nasty as the day it come outta the ground,
roilin’ and bubblin’ in the drainpan, tar-pit of hot, devilish slime;
Midnight black lake with flecks o’ gold – metal from main bearings
wearin’ down to dust as all things…get recovered, recycled, reborn;
Golden beer to bladder; black bottle to ebony pool
to oil barrel out back the shop where shinybald tires
oversee cigarette stubs and damp patches of pee.
With distant drone, one lone engine on a northern horizon
lifts me up, drawn like a compass into endless blue sky.

 

______

 

James Berry, MD was born in Lubbock, Texas and formally educated at Rice University and the University of Texas Medical School.  He now lives in Nashville and works as a professor of Anesthesiology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, teaching and caring for patients.

 

RWJ issue 4

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