the engineer*

May 26, 2011

Lucas Walker read his winning poem, "the engineer"

2011 Walk Award
By Lucas Walker

the engineer

his belt buckle is made entirely of pennies
maybe three inches across, three inches around.
pennies he finds along the railroad tracks
left by kids and the others
curious about the weight of a train
pouring speed over steel rails
leaving Lincoln’s face and monument
unrecognizable,
an oval remnant of copper
no longer good for exchange
but still warm from the train wheels
keeping force in their corner.

he collects them in a can on his workbench.
when it fills up he dumps them out
and arranges the old pennies into a likable shape
then solders the edges together, some filing, sanding
and a lot of rubbing with a soft cloth.
over the years his friends have all got one
for Christmas or a birthday.
every time he sees me he says,
you’re the only one who actually wears one.
it’s his self-conscious pride that I relate to
but I tell him every time, I wear the belt buckle
because I like it.

*Copyright 2011 by Lucas C. Walker. Photo by Karee Wardrop.