Picture him amid the rust—hand tools, jars of screws,
bolts, half-useful wrenches—assembling miniature farm
wagons, windmills, trains, as if one day he would return.
And return he does—in the various and sundry nails,
boxes of brads, wood scraps, lengths of wire thick
with dust—as the waste not want not farmer.
Which fills you with regret: not spending more time,
not listening, not facing what you could not save.
Now, you empty the pegboard of worn saw blades,
the calendar with pig photos and corny quotes, toss
handles, staples, hinges, caulk, tape, string, metal, and
weep, knowing this is as close as you will ever be to him,
his world reduced to tinkering alone down in this city cave,
touching what his rough hands touched, his curiosities,
your father under a bare bulb sawing pieces of his last
unfinished project, a sea-faring ship, its instructions and
pattern carefully numbered and folded—the glued, carved,
and sanded basswood—as if he sensed this full-blown
final creation might help him sail across that ancient sea.
From Rock * Tree * Bird (The Backwaters Press, 2017). Copyright © 2017 by Twyla Hansen. Used with the permission of the author.