The chariot of blue-collar workers fills the room with memories,
both warmer and cooler than hues of paint could ever attain to.
My dad’s Chevy S-10 greets the railroad tracks
between the artichoke and flower fields
with all of the speed we intended,
throwing my six-year old body almost high enough to touch the ceiling.
The rainwater that fell ten times a year in Central California
then Fell Down onto the windshield
at the whim of the bald tires in our favorite empty parking lot.
The wind from the open windows tried its hardest
to rid the smell of stale cigarettes extinguished in an old coffee mug,
cup after cup of warm Folgers,
and unrefined oil and dirt from 12-hour days running the oil fields.
The unsteady gas of a pre-teen city boy learning how to drive
a stick shift truck on his dad’s lap and dirt backroads.
past oil wells constantly moving their heads Up and Down
like feeding chickens.
A clay model holds its own, messy, like real life.
Dirty despite daily rinses, dents outing the drunk driver.
My dad’s white Ford he got along with his new job flipped.
The American flag back window intact as the values carried by a truck emblazoned with a flag.
Teenagers don’t take advantage of time with their parents,
But some always things go unmentioned.
He wasn’t arrested,
helped by the good ole’ boys of the blue-collar lifestyle.
Painted clay can’t move, the edged lines and smooth curves tell more than motion.
But in the end what can’t move is eventually left.
“Do you know where your dad is? His truck is still here.”
The grey Dodge Dakota my dad left for me when he went back
on the run drew two cops to my house in the mid-day sun
like red ants to a piece of candy.
My heartbeat echoed in the doorway.
If I hadn’t skipped school I wouldn’t be here.
The penalty of lying to red ants is less than the guilt of knowing you gave your dad up for 20-to-life.
She giggles as I drive 20 miles to the next town to get the Dakota detailed.
You can’t sell a truck that smells like stale cigarettes, Folgers and unrefined oil.
You can’t sell a truck that smells like the past.
A relationship put on fast-forward by the loss of a dad and the gain of a truck.
A high school sweetheart to grow old with.
The Mazda tops out at 120 miles per hour
past the artichoke and flower fields.
Towards the ocean.
Towards my truckless future.