Just over a year ago, at a writing workshop I attended in Exeter, Charlie Pratt (b1934) read from his collection —Still Here (Winner of the Finishing Line Press Prize in Poetry and the Open Chapbook Competition). The sketch above is from my journal at that very reading. His gentle and spirited discoveries in the mundane and everyday are sensitive and compelling. This poem is from his newest collection– From the Box Marked Some are Missing.
Our Sundays are given voice
By the small engine repairman,
Whose fingers, stubby and black,
Know our mowers and tractors,
Each plug, gasket and valve
And all the vital fluids.
Thanks to him our lawns
Are even, our gardens vibrant,
Our maples pruned for swings,
The underbrush whacked away.
“What’s broke can always be fixed
If I can find the parts,”
He says as he loosens a nut,
Exposes the carburetor,
Tinkers and tunes until
To the slightest pull on the cord
The engine at once concurs.
Let him come into our homes,
Let him discipline our children,
Console and counsel our mates,
Adjust the gap of our passions,
The mix of our humors: lay hands
On the small engine of our days.
“Prayer for the Small Engine Repairman” by Charles W. Pratt, from From the Box Marked Some are Missing: New and Selected Poems. © Hobblebush Books, 2010.