This is his real world:
body half-swallowed by the front end of a Chevy,
grease clinging to torso and head like afterbirth,
tools laid out like a feast at his feet
and words rolling off his tongue like oil.

His world is gaskets,
timing chains, fan shrouds,
exhaust manifolds, carburetors, bearings.
It’s 283, 327, big block, small block,
a ‘34, ‘65, ’40 Ford, Chevy, Mercury,
lead sled, high boy, roadster.

To him, the engine is metaphor:
silver, throbbing parts that sing
the song of rage and work and pride.
He knows the words, the way each piece
connects with the next, letters
he learned before the alphabet.

With his hands buried in gears
and christened in black sludge,
he needs only this pleasure:
the motor turns over like a shout,
hums perfection through the cylinders.
He peels out and flies through his hometown streets
passing local boys
and their dreams of being men.


~  ~  ~

Amanda Moore lives and writes in San Francisco, where she also teaches high school English and is learning to surf. Her poems have appeared in journals such as Cream City Review, Third Coast, Tahoma Literary Review, and the Best New Poets anthology.