Today's poem is by Joel Ferdon

To the Belly and Back

Brothers, he and I nestled under
the radiating warmth of the sizzling engine.
His hand on top of mine, he tried to show me,
in the pitch, the tiny tip of the oil head—
it was like trying to read braille when

you weren't blind. I knew what I was looking for,
but as the grating gears gnashed and gnawed
on the ends of my fingers I got frustrated and bit

the end of a lubricated wrench. A secong attempt, getting
closer and closer that a seven year separation was filling
in proximity. A torch exposed

the veins and organs of the metallic beast. My brother,
wrestling with the head, grasped it and stopped to demonstrate.
Taking notes in life, mimicking his motions on the invisible
lion in front of me, I grin. Manhood in its truest
form, half-eights socket in my hand, he hands it
to me to finish him off. The black gold geyser

soaked our undershirts, but a man is only as good
as the grease under his fingernails. The brothers
snake their way out from the belly, one after
the other, me following the lead equally. We fire our
Luckies, grab chilled beers.
We knock our cans, take a drag
with our black hands.

Copyright © 2016 Joel Ferdon All rights reserved
from Book Title
Louisiana Literature Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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