Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Boat Dreams

He would wake up, sometimes, in the nights after Grandpa died, and open the window to hear the wind in the trees and smell the river's thick sweet muddy scent. Stars and mud and the whiskery scrape of long grass in the yard that even now needed to be mowed.

And he would remember that loud voice, sharper than the howl of a saw or the screeching planer, and the stubbed fingers and dirty nails, old hands stronger than his young hands would ever be.

All the bottles with their faded labels sat on the sagging shelves, covered with sawdust.

Dust to dust.

He leaves the window open and in the morning the little bedroom in his grandparents' house is filled with birdsong, and he creeps downstairs in his socks, peeling them off before he reaches the dewy grass. Leaves silver dew-tracks in the long grass, a trail to the river, wraithed in fog.

And the dew-tracks lead up to the garage, with its stacks of wood and ancient tools. And there in the center, on sawhorses older than him, the beginnings of a boat. A new boat built by an old man and a young boy.

He whispers the unfamiliar words. Frames. Stringers. Chine. Bilge. Runs his finger along a curving piece of fir, jumps back at the splinter's pain, pops his finger in his mouth, tastes the sweet crumbly dust.

Dust to dust.

He swallows, twice. Clears his throat. Picks up the tools and returns to work.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Ode to Ray. He would love that!