A Blessing

In the backyard, the Oldsmobile that hasn't started
in three months has become a table for men.

They pour Cutty Sark over ice in day glo plastic cups
and talk car repair. I'm there too, eight years old

and almost completely deaf, hiding from the sun
under the car and licking my hand for its salt.

Their muffled speech comes to me "ronronron"
as though they're chanting a prayer to Ron,

the god of auto repair. When I'm bored with my hand,
I turn to watch their shuffling feet until their chant

brings me peace, and the salt on my tongue,
the valley heat, the smell of whiskey

and cigarettes, the browning grass beneath me,
and Ron's soothing blessing helps me to drift off to sleep.