The Trailer

A Poem by Bob Boldt

When I turned off Schumate Chapel Roadonto Morris,
my way was blocked by a great leviathan,
a huge white-vinyl-sided, ninety-foot-long mobile home.
Three men, one waving a flag at me,
were attempting to help the tractor driver
negotiate a perilous bend in the road.
Irritation turned to curious amusement as I realized
the situation looked hopeless.
The roads were narrow,
Between steep, undulating knolls.

The unlikely impresario of the Lilliputians
was a gangling Okie.
Dressed in a grey grease-stained T-shirt and torn blue jeans,
he looked as if he had stepped out of a Dorothea Lange album.
I sat behind my wheel, a front row seat
for what I assumed would be a rout.
I could have U-turned out of there but curiosity held me fast.

The director of this rag-tag operation
walked back and forth a few more minutes.
I thought he looked confused, daunted, perhaps, even defeated.
Then his hand went up, signaling the driver to throttle
the Hemi Diesel forward mere inches swinging the great Moby’s tail
toward the culvert at the side of the road.
It looked like disaster as the monster shuddered side to side, beached between a roadside satellite dish and a row of mailboxes.
The hand dropped abruptly, and the driver cut the engine.
Brake lights went on at the rear of the cab.
What now?

Ahab signaled the driver to cut his wheels sharply left.
The other two wranglers rushed forward,
working with planks and wedges under the forewheels.
With precision any orchestra conductor would envy,
The captain’s left hand signaled the driver slowly foreword;
his right, with rotating swirls the degree of turn necessary.
The engine growled its disbelief
as the great beast tipped its nose up as if to breach.
The tail dipped and swayed sideways,
missing the satellite dish by eight inches.
Beneath the tremendous weight, the punished boards
creaked and cracked as the turn was slowly accomplished
and the home came to rest squarely on solid pavement.
Without a bow or even applause, the captain swung aboard the cab of the tractor-trailer as it slowly lumbered past me
before I even remembered to start my engine.

Today I read of a CEO who, with a few keystrokes,
unemployed fifteen hundred of his workers
and a highly paid Monsanto executive
responsible for the poisoning of thousands
of Vietnamese children and veterans.
And I saw a seemingly ordinary man, without a misstep or mistake,
pull a family’s home out of a ditch and send it on its way.

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