I tag after my dad, hoping
not to get lost among
the throng of strangers
at West Peabody speedway
where he greets friends
and admires modified stock
cars. He’s ready to grab
a wrench, ready to crew.
I’m sure I’d like to be like him —
able to fix anything, particularly
engines. Only, he says tonight
is too hot for a 5-year-old
to hold his hand. I’m standing
on my own amid revving engines,
short burst of spinning wheels,
men swearing and hollering.
It’s that same night a car
throws a wheel into the crowd
and I see a spectator get killed.
My dad hurries me home
after that, holding my hand
all the way to his truck
in the parking lot.