Sunday, June 17, 2007

Hardware (Father's Day 2007)

--Ronald Wallace

My father always knew the secret
name of everything --
stove bolt and wing nut,
setscrew and rasp, ratchet
wrench, band saw, and ball
peen hammer. He was my
tour guide and translator
through that foreign country
with its short-tempered natives
in their crewcuts and tattoos,
who suffered my incompetence
with gruffness and disgust.
Pay attention, he would say,
and you'll learn a thing or two.

Now it's forty years later,
and I'm packing up his tools
(If you know the proper
names of things you're never
at a loss), tongue-tied, incompetent,
my hands and heart full
of doohickeys and widgets,
watchamacallits, thingamabobs.

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