History of Invention

Noel Sloboda

Its spine begs to be cracked. Still,
he hesitates, flipping the book, seeking
clues. The title gives him pause:
Whose Bright Idea Was That? He is on to
something, he suspects, something
related to his passions: history, invention.

But he is reminded: of his mother’s voice;
of his father’s white ’66 Corvair, engineless,
at the southern edge
of the little, brown Osgood lot,
rusting in silent defiance, cracked
headlight staring at the road, back to the
shouting in the house. Goddamn eyesore. Fix it
up, right? Whose bright idea was that?

He couldn’t see the car (or the road) then, not
through his grimy bedroom window. But he knew,
in ’79 and ’80, the Corvair was there, waiting.
Now he worries about this book—ideas
with attributions or great designs gone
inconceivably wrong? Pages part easily; he finds
a way between them.