Monday, January 29, 2007

Tammy Armstrong

Rogersville: Garage Man's Daughter Back From the City

Exhaustion wraps you like brilliant wrenches
in the too orderly garage
where your uncle who'd fallen asleep at the wheel
in the 70's off the old highway
won't work on blue cars
anything resembling sky, sea, bruise.

I waited past midnight on a milk crate
re-reading outdated Popular Mechanics
staving off your apologies
for the carburetor, the dirt road
without street lamps
my marooning
in a darkness
that cramped and hemorrhaged
cast shadows on the shells of cars--
cumbersome, bovine.

Far from the city
with its unending dog mouth hues
I'm still the daughter of garage men
oil and dust muted in my veins
affection for your grease-stamped knuckles
how you angle your arms away
to keep me clean, unoriented--
your hesitation to bring me back
rural, small town cluttered.

On the drive home
two bucks will run across the line
I'll think stallions, a broken fence
my percolating fear:
just brush fire eyes in high beams
all of it fish tailing the ditches:
your hand on my knee
cupping what I'd forgotten to expect:
how foreign we seem
after ten years in the city.

Excerpt from 'the Dublin Quarterly' : Issue No. 10. Feb. '07-May. '07

Tammy Armstrong's work has appeared in literary journals in Canada, US, UK and Europe. She is the author of Translations: Aistreann (novel), Unravel (poetry) and Bogman's Music (poetry), which was nominated for a Governor General's Award.

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