My grandparents lived in a log cabin across the river from the road.
When they needed civilization,
they pulled themselves over
on a trolley my grandfather built to haul the lumber and supplies across
to build the cabin—ten years before my father ever
saw light break the faded lemon curtains. The trolley consisted
of two wooden docks on either side of the river,
a thick, rust-colored cable that spanned
the water, and the trolley car (a thin plate of plywood on a metal frame)
that rode the cable dock to dock.
The river crossing took place forty feet above the green water.
The car raced a blur down the slope of the fat cable to the middle,
where it would pace back and die if not
pulled up the other side by my grandfather’s huge,
calloused hands and the corded muscles of his arms and back.
My grandfather used this oversized pulley
to connect himself to the world. It was the way he went across
when he wanted to buy groceries or tools or a new fly rod.
It was the way the doctor came across the night my father was born.
Also by Quinn Grover