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  • Dad’s a fixer.

    I returned home for the summer in June,

    and it was a week before I even noticed

    that Dad had duct taped our car.

    I guess the Lancer has seen better days.

    Its had worse nights.

    At the end of last summer,

    Brian and I returned home from Lifetime

    to find the mailbox broken clean in half -

    the remainder of the post

    a sharp splinter pointing straight into the sky.

    There were no clues left behind,

    no tire marks,

    no shattered glass.

    It must have been just about 2 years earlier,

    the same time of year,

    when down on Weidner road in Jane’s neighborhood

    I’d dragged down a mailbox myself

    with my sideview mirror.

    Mail scattered askew on the blacktop,

    brought to light in the dark by headlights.

    My mirror took a hit,

    and my summer savings took a hit

    as I scrambled to replace

    my car’s right peripheral

    before anyone in the house took notice.

    *

    Scott Black rang our doorbell the next afternoon.

    He spoke for his nervous son

    who silently nodded his head along with his mother,

    both trying their best to look sorry.

    Newly licensed the young guy was,

    just as I had been.

    I took down Mr. Black’s number.

    “Call and we’ll cover the cost,” he said.

    Dad never called.

    He came home after work with a new mailbox the next evening.

    I helped him

    as he took a mess of glue and screws out of his red toolbox

    to mend the post before sundown,

    mumbling nonsensically when I asked

    why he didn’t just have Mr. Black take care of it.

    *

    Dad doesn’t need to know the best way to solve a problem,

    or even how to do it;

    he doesn’t get stuck in contemplation,

    he just gets it done.

    Dad’s a fixer,

    and I’m broken.

    Dad’s a fixer,

    and he’s going to try and fix me.

    *

    Dad left a roll of duct tape in the passenger side door.

    “Just in case,” he said.

    I scoffed at him,

    but less than a week later,

    as Jane and I were chasing rain

    and wondering about the rain wall

    where rain both begins and ends,

    the adhesive released a strip of tape that flew back and tapped a beat

    against her window until we passed through the downpour

    into a rest area where we could mend the strip.

    And last week in the unforgiving heat of high Summer,

    the rearview mirror fell off the windshield.

    I've been driving ever since

    without looking back.
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