My father sits beneath the hood of our rusted,
Steady, 1980 blue Buick,
His back as misaligned
As the transmission he tries to fix.
He cringes with every turn
Of his greasy socket wrench
As if it reminds him of his own spiraling misfortune.

In a car that cannot be described,
(Because of its deliberate inconspicuousness)
Along our street, sits
No one.

A mysterious car, every month this car
Across the street at this time.
Maybe the person has a transaction to make
At the First National Bank,
Every month, all day?
Perhaps the person works there,
And doesn’t want to use the ample
Parking lot that needed a home
Burned to the ground, a family displaced,
For its existence?

The monthly wail of the siren
On the towering blue water tower
Makes one realize the current time, 1:00PM,
And date, Wednesday, July 1st,
In annoying fashion.

In a courtroom,
Five years later,
Our family watches the proceedings
Unfold. A lawyer from Workmen’s
Compensation plays a video
Of my father
Working on our rusted,
Steady, 1980 blue Buick.
My ten-year old self,
With blurred face,
Approaches the car,
But the camera does not follow me.
It stays focused on the man
Twisting, wincing, wishing the pain
In his back that cannot be found
By a team of doctors will one day go away.

The camera does not show what I saw,
But I remember it clearly:
With my nose pressed against the back window,
I peered into an empty car
That recorded our lives,
Once a month for five years.

A siren sounds
And the time signature on the video rolls
Over to one.

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