Night Shift

as if my Yellow Cab
could satisfy
the ache in my headlights to see
beyond the dry mouth
of July heat lightning,
I stop and get out
squat to touch the bluegrass
that edges the curb,
and become again the boy
who climbed trees.

Four years old
I watch Dad’s intent hands weave
cord around a basket
to shape a net
for the dirt court
across the street.

he played guard
with the local boys.
and I sat
beneath the kitchen table
when Dad
home early from work
embraced Mom
with the news:
his promotion to
night foreman. And much
the way the tingle in reaching the top
limb of a bare sweet gum
leaves the skin in a crisp wanting
I didn’t know what it meant

until years later
though since that day I
can’t recall
when I last saw him
hug her
in the light.


—By Rodger Moody, BA '76, MFA '78

Rodger Moody has earned fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, and Literary Arts in Portland. He makes his living as a warehouse worker in Eugene. This poem was originally published in the journal Permafrost and appears in Moody’s new book, History (Sight for Sight Books, 2015).