metal guts

Ducking the rain, dark sky, stairs down to the garage. I dreamed through the dust, right through the dust and corrosion. The missing doors. The engine block, stripped down, hanging on the mount. The rust eating through the frame. Breathe. Let it transform you. Metal and bolts + imagination.

Think back to how many times you changed shape--like Proteus, from a lion to a serpent to a tree.

We'd been staying here for a week at my uncle's house.

When a stepfather's threat hands over a boy's home--mom with her back against the kitchen wall--a storm brews that can swallow all light. I slept curled up with my uncle's big lab mutt Pugsley. He shed fur all over me. I could feel his heart beating, the only thing that calmed the storm.

In the garage, from the heap of steel and sheetmetal, I built the machine new. The dog lay, white paws stretched out on the cool concrete, and watched patiently as I worked. Metal guts and bolts + imagination.

I wouldn't let anyone cut my hair. My uncle said I looked like Ringo Starr, without the mustache.

Think of the Eagles blaring from a paint-caked boombox and a 66' Charger, in pieces.

If you drag bearings, carburetors, and brake calipers while the world argues

and stares back violently

you'll replace your sadness with hope.       You'll hold on.

I built the machine new. It was cream white with red interior, 17 and-a-half feet long, a sculpture low to the pavement. I turn from all other sound, and listen to the engine purr.

About the author:

Roger Real Drouin is a first-year MFA student in creative writing/fiction at Florida Atlantic University. His short stories have been published, or are forthcoming, in the print journals The Litchfield Review and Leaf Garden and online at Canopic Jar, Offcourse Literary Journal, Madswirl and Green Silk. He was a journalist for seven years before coming to FAU in Fall 2009. His Web site is