Amorak Huey is the author of three books of poetry: Boom Box (Sundress, 2019), Seducing the Asparagus Queen (Cloudbank, 2018, winner of the Vern Rutsala Prize), and Ha Ha Ha Thump (Sundress, 2015), as well as two chapbooks. He is co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and teaches at Grand Valley State University in Michigan.
In the Final Months of My Parents’ Marriage
We are building a flying machine, my father, my brother,
& me. We work in the attic of an abandoned house—
to reach this room, we lean the rusting skeleton
of a box spring against the wall & scramble up
through a trap door. Wood glue, balsa, complicated
mimeograph blueprint—it’s a kit from the Farm & Feed,
a gift, a getaway vehicle; although none of us
knows it yet, we are each in our own separate hurries
away from this place. The work is delicate, requires
a kind of care I’ve never had. They are both better
than I am at this, if it were left up to me, I would crack
these thin slices of wood, render them useless.
Down the hill, a chert driveway, crushed stone
& packed sand. Across the road, a field. Beyond that,
behind a row of scrub pine & water oak, a river.
But today it’s the field we need. An open space
to test our work. A rubber band. A winding tight.
A letting go & a grassy place to land.
This poem is true, except for the parts I invented. That sounds more pretentious than I intend it to; it’s just that
there was an old attic, a mattress frame, a divorce, and many balsa-wood planes. Still, I could not say exactly which
parts of this are memory, which parts dream, which parts crafted to give the language a shape