At winter’s end I watched the caretaker –
my father – as he prepared. The fires were
lit and the pinions whirred, teeth bared.
Smoke clung to my hair. My father – the
caretaker – oiled wheels with blackened
fingers and spoke of the coming Spring.
We were deep beneath the ground, then, as
gears pushed green shoots up through the
warm earth. Dynamos turned by steam
opened each budded leaf. We assembled
hyacinths and manufactured ducklings.
Bumble bees were painted by hand. Clock-
work daffodils opened in April, as regular
as the click of cogs beneath our garden shed.
When the seasons were upgraded, Mother
Nature gained a motherboard and my father –
the caretaker – learnt to program grass. He
memorised the keyboard short-cuts for cherry
blossom and redesigned ducklings in CAD. He
did not mourn the machine, as I did. The gears
and pinions held no nostalgia, meant nothing to
him. The times that we meet are fewer now, his
time is spent perfecting the program. And though
the daffodils are brighter now, I miss that engine
more than ever. Though the machinery lays
dormant beneath the earth, I remember him, and
the sweet scent of smoke still clings to my hair.