by James Hoch

Rust-splotched, thin-walled, coal-pocked,
It sat hulled to the cellar floor, a leviathan
of cinder and metal. We did not believe

it could speak, though we goaded and warded
and goaded friends into sticking their heads
in its open mouth, as if its jaws would

clamp down, clench shut like a turtle’s,
and though it unmovable the day two men
from Mohrfield Oil winched and pulleyed

and heaved it from its moorings. More like
excuses for muscle than gods, though
the house shook and buckled and swayed

when they hauled it out the door. Four of us
huddled on red steps. Our mother upstairs,
the crow’s nest of her bedroom, yelling

directions, though we could not hear them,
so would not follow and chased after
the back of the flatbed, waving good-bye,

its black mouth agape, hinged, singing.

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