With each click of the tuning knob, static morphs into country tenor. Melodic twang bounces through monophonic grit like dandelions sprouting from the gravel driveway. His voice booms above the roar of the air compressor and intoxicating fumes of gasoline. Smiling at my brother, he asks if he’s strong enough to fetch the big red hammer. Bent over the entrails of a ’67 Impala, Dad rummages through his tool belt for a quarter-inch socket. His steel-wire sinews wrench silver organs back to life. When moths circle the lightbulbs, they saunter inside. My brother burrows beneath a nest of flannel on his lap while Dad ruffles his hair and sips a pilsner. It is bitter, but the froth is sweet and dry, a communion wine for that sacred, masculine gesture they secretly savor. Grinning, Dad lifts a finger to his lips and tilts the amber bottle toward my brother, offering a swig before Momma comes out of the laundry room. I sit against the front of the washing machine, listening to their easy silence and the muffled gunshots of a late-night spaghetti western. I clutch my doll, and hate that I love her instead of motor oil and tobacco. I wish I was my father's son.
Kora Orosz is a sophomore at Albion College in Albion, Michigan; she is pursuing a degree in Exercise Science. “On Fathers” is her first published poem, but she has enjoyed creative writing since childhood. Although she is pursuing a career in healthcare, her hobbies are mostly artistic. In addition to creative writing, she enjoys painting, sketching, and playing her cello.