photoart: ralph murre
by Max Garland
My father’s milk truck bounces
the county roads, as much a part
of the jangle of future as dawn.
His shirt is white as God to me,
I get to ride along sometimes.
the smell of the cooler
is the rubbery cold where
nothing spoils, where rows
of bottles ride like music
before the choir wakes up,
or the pigeons tear loose
from silos and steeples.
The cords of muscle in his arms,
the pulsing star of cigarette,
the jump on the walking world we get
as we navigate the deep blue
stutter of washboard roads,
help lift the day onto the calendar.
First light arrives, slow as a wage
I don’t yet know the meaning of, though
I feel the glow of usefulness
as I lug the empties back to the truck
where the sun has started
to brighten the fenders and latches,
the chrome of the hubcaps like coins
for the road where dark is spent
and wealth is milk at every door.
~ first published in Prairie Schooner