Thursday, November 8, 2012

My Dad's Name Was Bob

artwork: ralph murre

My Dad’s Name Was Bob
by Michael Estabrook

I’m grown-up visiting Mom in the old
house on Northfield Avenue.  I’m
down in the basement.  Dad’s workbench
is strewn with tools, they’re all over
the bench and the floor, but these are
wrenches and pipe cutting tools,
and pipes, and huge nuts and bolts, not
the tools of a car mechanic, not my father’s
tools.  Across from the washer and dryer
in the corner where the furnace used to be
is a closet door, I open it and it’s filled
with paper bags, and plastic knives and
spoons, and canned goods, and there’re
spiders in there too.  The whole place is
a terrible mess like a tornado came
through and I’m dying to clean it up,
it was my job to clean it up as a kid,
something I could do well, I had a system.
I notice on top of the old dented metal
cabinet way in the back are crumpled-up
blue coveralls like the kind car mechanics
wear, and my heart jumps.  Maybe those
are Dad’s coveralls stuffed back in there
like that for these past 30 years.  I reach in
and pull them out, they’re stiff and badly
wrinkled, and have dried grease on them.
I smell them but they don’t smell like Dad,
they smell dusty.  I look for the white
patch above the shirt pocket where
the name should be, and I find it, hold it
under the light bulb and see the name Jim.

~ first published in Zen Tattoo