The Tuesday Crew
Before we can begin, we must coddle the old truck,
tighten down the terminal clamps, then jump it.
Groaning like most of us do before easing out of bed,
it starts reluctantly. Twenty minutes to scrape away
the ice, even inside, while the crew stomps boots
and tosses banter in the steam of breath.
We are to gather branches along the roadways
littered by this winter’s storms and keep the diesel idling
while the alternator does its job. The windows keep re-frosting
and I drop them just to see the edges of the road.
No matter–there is no heater coil, no fan, but soon
the sun will rise just high enough to warm the glass
and I can use the grease-stained towel in the cab.
We drift along the track, the four of us, wondering
that the trees have any branches left– we almost have
a forest in the bed before we reach the fork.
First trip to the burn pile, the others walk, but coming back
they clamber in the seatless cab and reminisce
about the old cars that we owned when we were young.
We are all old, the truck, this crew, even the trees.
But the sun and the sap are rising, the truck still runs
and we will all be young by coffee time.
Hugh Anderson started writing in longhand, graduated to a Remington Manual, then an IBM Selectric. At some point he discovered Microsoft Office and has never looked back. Recent publications for the Vancouver Island native include Cold Mountain Review, Sin Fronteras, Panoplyzine and Sea and Cedar with work upcoming in The Poeming Pigeon. He has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize.