Holding a black wire coat hanger in his hand,
bending a loop in the tip with a pair of pliers,
my neighbor Mr. Alvarado is walking down his drive
without a shirt, pale winter fat hanging over his belt,
blue rings around his eyes.
He has come out like this on a February morning
to try to break into the car
his son has locked the keys inside
as the boy hovers in the background,
arms crossed over his chest, carefully watching
while pretending to be bored.
They are trying hard
not to make a scene
in the thin light of Sunday morning
while the next-door neighbors snore—
and they could call up the garage,
but Mr. Alvarado doesn’t want
to bring the experts in;
he wants to teach his son a thing
or two a man should know.
He is like the Eskimo dad
teaching his boy to fish:
threading the line of reindeer gut
through a needle eye in the antler bone,
standing silent over their personal
hole in the ice. Love
is the thing you
press your face against,
trying to figure out how
to get inside without breaking it.
Look, they are the proof:
working the tip of the wire
under the rubber seal of the window frame;
carefully sliding the loop
over and down
to snag the silver latch and open it.