A sheet metal screw with a combination head

Winking among the dustbin refuse

Tells something cryptic, fateful, hard to understand.

Noticing it takes you half a continent away

To a garage lined with coffee cans

Filled with screws, or nails, or wingnuts.

Belts, bits, washers, bards or anchors. Tacks.

Dad never would’ve thrown away a screw.

You think of great-grandpa Newton’s shed

Out behind the tomato patches

Where every wall the the entire floor held cans

Of baby doll heads, geegaws, bobs and springs.

The story goes, when he first saw it, your father

Lost his breath and had to lean against the door

In admiration.

You remember

How your mother loved to recount that moment

To all the cousins, how her husband and grandfather

Had been cast from the same thrifty mold.

All of us piled into that linoleum-lined kitchen and ate

Crispy catfish, winning tomatoes, mile-high meringues.

She seemed to tell it every time,

Until Grandpa died and the shed got tore down

And Grandma moved to Sunset Senior Care.

And everyone stopped driving out to Oklahoma so much.



3 thoughts on “screws.

  1. That kitchen, I’ve been there. I can smell the oil in the air mixing with dishsoap. Also, I love the two locations. Reading it felt like walking from the garage to the kitchen in a dream…a sad/nostalgic dream that you have to spend the rest of the day shaking off. Well done.

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