Everything Needs Fixing
in your thirties everything needs fixing. i bought a toolbox
for this. filled it with equipment my father once owned
to keep our home from crumbling. i purchased tools with
names & functions unknown to me. how they sat there
on their shelf in plastic packaging with price tags screaming:
hey lady, you need this! like one day i could give my home
& everything living inside it the gift of immortality, to be
a historical monument the neighbors would line up
to visit even after i’m gone & shout: damn that’s a nice house!
i own a drill now, with hundreds & hundreds of metal pieces
i probably won’t use or use in the wrong ways but what
i’m certain of, is still, the uncertainty of which tools repair
the aging dog, the wilting snake plant, the crow’s feet
under my eyes, the stiff knee or bad back.
& maybe this is how it is—how parts of our small universe
dissolve like sugar cubes in water—a calling to ask us
to slow our busy breathing so we can marvel
at its magic. because even the best box of nails are capable
of rust. because when i was a child i dropped
a cookie jar in the shape of noah’s ark,
a family heirloom that shattered to pieces.
the animals broke free, zebras ran under
the kitchen table, the fractured lion roared by
the front door & out of the tool cabinet
i snagged duck tape & ceramic glue. pieced each beast
back to their intended journey. because that afternoon
when my father returned from work i confessed
& he sat the jar on the counter only to fill it with
pastries. how the cracks of imperfection mended by
my hands laid jagged. chipped paint sliced across a rhino’s neck.
every wild animal lined up against the boat—
& a flood of sweet confections waiting inside.
Copyright © 2021 by Karla Cordero. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 6, 2021, by the Academy of American Poets.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, the concept of aging and death became a haunting obsession. With an attempt to regain control during a world crisis, I began fixing every crack and bruise around the house with a hope to expand the longevity of these items. This poem gave me the opportunity to reflect on the kinds of living material within my life and how there is a limitation to my fixing, realizing how we must marvel at the magic and evolving beauty of aging. This poem led me to think about the kinds of repairs I made in my life as a child and a father still finding purpose in the fractured and imperfect. I began to think about the biblical story of Noah, sent by God to repair a fractured world and how there is still beauty to be found in the outcome of chaos.”