Not to say he didn’t try! He spray painted tarps silver and draped them over papier-mâché craters. He hung layers of black curtains throughout the garage, then perforated them with a thousand dollar-store Christmas lights. It was a clamor of white. Such an orgiastic arrangement of constellations has not been manufactured since. For a moment it seemed as if the whole universe could be made from yes: yes to this garage-contained panoply; yes to the sequence of possibilities erupting into this possibility; yes sweat and yes motor oil air; yes even to the sleeping choir of chainsaws, circular saws, hack saws, screwdrivers, hammers, boxes in their lingerie of mold, nuts, bolts, plywood, scrap wood, fridge beer-packed and humming its single note behind the universe’s umbral drapes.
I had the camera ready, the blue volleyball of our planet twirled on fishing line tacked to the beams above.
But then my father said stop, wait. He said we don’t have a flag. He laughed and said we don’t have a flag to plant! You can’t claim a thing if you got nothing to claim it with!
He was still laughing when my fingers dipped into his chest, when my arm sunk in up to the elbow, when my hand wrapped around his spine. Even when I pulled the flag out of him, blue and starless and heavy as a rain-thick scarecrow, his laughter tattooed the air, trembled the stars.
Fall, I think it was. The whole world burned with a need for sleep, with hunger, with drunk, with bliss. In the universe of the garage my father laughed and laughed until he vanished into his laugh.
Hard was the chore of breaking down the moon, feeding it sliver by sliver to bass-mouthed trash bins.
Heavy is the footprint I carry still in my pocket.