The rig cost me a fortune
and what was left of my marriage
but the boy understands;
the former, at least.
He seemed disappointed
to wear those service blues at first
though the day I ironed on that patch
with his name above the breast pocket
he started to take interest
in what became our family business.
Community school was a waste of time
for both of us
so now he helps set up the auger
and watches for signs of danger
while I run the levers
as the homeowner
--unfortunately off from work--
spies from cracked blinds
in a house without running water
and toilets that don't flush.
The best of them know that much:
To stay inside
avoiding stupid question time.
If they've called me--us, really--
it's because their well's run dry.
They need us--our rig, really--
to tap into what
they can't obtain on their own.
And that's what I tell the kid
after the man dressed down
in the polo shirt
and crisp dungarees
hands him a crumpled twenty
behind my back:
The tip is only there
because the blade's tip is sharp.
It's harsh, but it works.
At night he gets the file
and heads out to the shop
while I make sure that our ad's still printed
inside those yellow pages.
"Poetry", October 2016.